Police arrested 31-year-old car dealer Arthur Z. and 26-year-old Karo S. on suspicion of drug trafficking, as during the raids, police discovered 35 kilograms of marijuana.
About ten years ago, young people from Armenia created the group called “The Joker”, the website says. They were allegedly engaged in racketeering, robbery and drug trafficking. Arthur Z. and Karo S. were considered to be the leaders of the gang.
The source noted, the Joker grouping later fell apart, but two members continued their activities, participating in a shootout between Armenian clans in the city of Erfurt in July 2014. Both men were captured by surveillance cameras near the building where the shooting occurred. Arthur Z. is also seen on the video of a “showdown” between the Armenian and Moldovan clans in Erfurt in June 2016.
Note, previously Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, has published an article about the illegal actions of the Armenian mafia in the country and Armenian ambassador to Germany Ashot Smbatian’s ties with local criminal groups. The article is based on a joint investigation carried out by Der Spiegel and the local MDR TV and Radio Company.
The BTK report concludes that the Armenian mafia ‘really exists’ in Germany, possesses ‘considerable financial resources’ together with other criminal groups from Eurasian region and poses ‘a threat to the rule of law’.
Moreover, it is said that in 2005 the Berlin prosecutor’s office launched an investigation against Smbatian on charges of “money laundering” after large sums of money were repeatedly transferred on his account in one of the German banks. Smbatian then responded to the accusations that "transfers from abroad are part of the general experience of the Armenian embassy," and the investigation was suspended. Smbatian was also investigated for his alleged contacts with the daughter of Armenia’s former minister and businessman.
The article says that Smbatian, through his lawyer, denied all accusations. It is reported that after the death of Armenia’s then-ambassador to Germany in 2014, Smbatian was unexpectedly appointed as ambassador. During his tenure as ambassador, Smbatian held meetings with the interior ministries of several federal states. During a meeting at the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 2017, Smbatian expressed concern on a possible negative impact of Armenian mafia on the visa facilitation issue between the two countries and offered assistance in the fight against Armenian mafia.