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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Armenian Lawmaker Shot in Casino

Www.parliament.amTigran Arzakantsyan
A shooting at the Metropol Casino in central Moscow in the early hours Wednesday left an Armenian National Assembly deputy hospitalized with a gunshot wound.

Tigran Arzakantsyan was shot once in the arm at around 4:30 a.m. in the casino, located in the same building as the famous Metropol Hotel, a stone's throw from the Kremlin, prosecutors and the Armenian Embassy said.

Arzakantsyan was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was in satisfactory condition as of Wednesday afternoon, said Sergei Buchevsky, head of the investigative department of the Tverskoi District Prosecutor's Office. A law enforcement source said Arzakantsyan was being treated at the Sklifosovsky clinic in central Moscow, Interfax reported.

It was unclear what prompted the shooting, Buchevsky said, adding that investigators were considering a few scenarios.

"Either an argument broke out in a restaurant or on the street, or there had been bad blood even earlier," Buchevsky said.

The shooter fled the scene and was being sought by police Wednesday, Buchevsky said.

Prosecutors have classified the incident as a case of attempted murder.

A woman who answered the phone at the casino Wednesday said she had no information about the shooting and that no one authorized to comment was available.

She said the casino was operating as usual, though this could not be independently confirmed. Security guards prevented a reporter from entering the casino Wednesday afternoon from both the street entrance and through the Metropol Hotel.

Asked about the shooting, a security guard at the street entrance said, "There was no such incident."

The Armenian Embassy said Arzakantsyan, 41, was on a personal visit to Moscow unrelated to the three-day official visit of Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, who left the city Wednesday.

The Interpol Armenian National Bureau is prepared to cooperate with Russian authorities in an investigation of the shooting, although the bureau has not yet received sufficient information about the incident, bureau chief Vardan Yegiazaryan told reporters Wednesday in Yerevan, Novosti-Armenia reported.

An embassy source told Interfax that Arzakantsyan was a prominent figure in Armenia's cognac sector, producing, among other spirits, a high-end cognac called Tigran Veliky, or Tigran the Great.

A veterinarian by training, Arzakantsyan was elected as a deputy to the parliament in May 2003 as a member of the Republican Party of Armenia and currently sits on its committee on financial credit, budgetary and economic affairs, according to the web site of the National Assembly.

Staff Writer David Nowak contributed to this report.