German police suspect Armenian Ambassador and boxers Artur Abrakham and Karo Murat of ties with thieves in law
However, the law enforcement authorities have so far failed to find convincing evidence of the involvement of these persons in the Armenian mafia’s activities.
The materials of the investigation of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) of Germany regarding the crime group of immigrants from the Caucasus region featured the names of the Armenian Ambassador to the country Ashot Smbatyan and well-known boxers Artur Abrakham (Abrakhamyan) and Karo Murat, the German newspaper Der Spiegel and the public TV and radio company Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk reported. The law enforcement authorities have so far failed to find any convincing evidence of the involvement of these persons in the Armenian mafia’s activities.
Earlier it became known that the BKA, together with the land police departments of Germany, have been conducting a secret operation for three years on search for and detention of representatives of Armenian organized crime groups code-named FATIL - Fight against thieves in law. German law enforcement authorities’ investigation is supported by the federal intelligence service BND and Europol. At the same time, the BKA did not recommend the investigation participants to accept the help of the diplomatic mission of Armenia in Germany, since it is possible that the representatives of the country's state bodies are connected with thieves in law. The names of the thieves are not specified.
During the investigation, German law enforcement officers found out that the Armenian organized crime groups have created a “powerful network” in Germany, but the suspects could not be arrested due to lack of evidence. The German police drew attention to the Armenian criminal groups after a shootout between participants of two gangs at a casino in Erfurt in 2014. Then two people from Armenia aged 27 and 54 were injured.
As part of the operation, 14 criminal cases were initiated. Investigations launched against 42 people, who are charged with money laundering. The materials featured the names of boxers Artur Abrakham and Karo Murat living in Germany, however, law enforcement authorities have not yet managed to find convincing evidence against them and other suspects.
German media also remark that in March 2018, Armenian Ambassador to Germany Ashot Smbatyan met with the Head of the police of the state of Thuringia (whose capital is Erfurt, where the shootout took place) and offered assistance in disclosing Armenian criminal groups. However, the BKA did not recommend their counterparts to cooperate with the Ambassador due to "a possible merger of the mafia groups and the authorities of Armenia."
According to media reports, law enforcement officials suspected that the Ambassador appointed in 2015 by presidential decree of Serzh Sargsyan had links to the organized crime, but there was no evidence as well.
In 2008, when Smbatyan was an employee of the embassy, the Federal Intelligence Service suspected him of smuggling. No sufficient evidence was also found in this case, and the investigation was suspended.Smbatyan himself, who was also appointed the Armenian Ambassador to Liechtenstein in the fall of 2018, strongly rejected the accusations and called them "absurd." The Armenian Foreign Ministry stated that they were in contact with the German government agencies in order to clarify the accuracy of the information concerning suspicions against Smbatyan that appeared in the press.