Ruben Vardanyan held a ministerial position in the self-proclaimed government of Nagorno-Karabakh
Ruben Vardanyan in custody © State Border Service of Azerbaijan
Ruben Vardanyan, the former co-owner of the Russian financial group Troika Dialog, has been arrested by Azerbaijani border guards as he was trying to leave the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Baku’s State Border Service reported on Wednesday.
The ethnic Armenian businessman and politician, who renounced his Russian citizenship last year, was a minister in the self-proclaimed government of the breakaway region until February. Baku retook control of Nagorno-Karabakh in a swift military operation last week.
Vardanyan’s wife Veronika Zonabend told journalists that her husband was “taken prisoner” alongside “thousands of other Armenians” trying to leave the region.
According to Azerbaijani authorities, the senior leader of the “Armenian separatists” was taken into custody at the Lachin checkpoint. He was transported to Baku, where his fate will be decided, the statement said. Media in Azerbaijan have shown images of the detained ex-official.