Former Armenian Security Chief Found Shot Dead

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Georgi Kutoyan, who headed Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) in the final years of former President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule, was found shot to death in Yerevan on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee, Naira Harutiunian, reported in the afternoon that Kutoyan’s body had a gunshot wound then it was discovered by his wife at his Yerevan apartment “a short while ago.”

Forensic experts and other officers of the law-enforcement agency are already “working at the scene,” Harutiunian wrote on Facebook.

A high-ranking Investigative Committee official, Artur Melikian, said later in the day that preliminary indications are that Kutoyan, 38, was killed by a gunshot fired at his head. But investigators also found dozens of bullets in the apartment and forensic experts will determine whether those were fired from the same pistol, he told reporters outside the apartment building cordoned off by police.

Melikian said that premeditated murder is therefore one of the theories of Kutoyan’s death considered by the investigators.

“We don’t yet have information that anyone heard gunshots,” he said, adding that more residents of the apartment block will be questioned in the coming days.

A lawyer by education, Kutoyan had worked as an assistant to Sarkisian from 2011 until his surprise appointment as director of the NSS in February 2016. He was sacked by newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in May 2018 immediately after the “Velvet Revolution” that toppled the country’s former leader.

Kutoyan has made no public statements since then. He also kept a low profile during his tenure.

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