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Slovak citizen denies involvement in arms supplies from North Korea to Russia

Ashot Mkrtychev falls under US sanctions for allegedly attempting to mediate arms deals between North Korea and Russia

BRATISLAVA, March 31. /TASS/. A Slovak citizen of Azerbaijani descent, Ashot Mkrtychev, who has been sanctioned by the US for allegedly attempting to broker arms deals between North Korea and Russia, denies his involvement in weapons sales, the news portal reported on Friday.

"I want to transport flour, wheat, chocolate, some canned goods from Russia to [North] Korea. For a long time, [the North Koreans] were buying [these goods] from China, but it’s expensive there. The Russians were supplying food products to the West, but now they cannot [do so], so they have a surplus and they want to sell [the food products]. I am not dealing in weapons. I have neither a company nor a license for this. I am surprised by this [inclusion in the sanctions list]," the news portal quoted him as saying upon discovering that the US had imposed sanctions on him. Mkrtychev is currently conducting business negotiations in China.

In 2002, Mkrtychev was accused in Slovakia of allegedly organizing the contract killing of a competing arms dealer. According to the news portal, he was remanded in custody but was released in 2010 because the prosecutor’s office could not prove his guilt.