The country of Azerbaijan has issued an arrest warrant for Dan Bilzerian, the social media celebrity with the lavish lifestyle known as the “King of Instagram.”
PEOPLE confirms that the Investigative Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan has initiated a criminal case against Bilzerian, alleging he illegally visited Nagorno Karabakh, a region that is the subject of a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Authorities allege that Bilzerian illegally acquired grenades and firearms before “demonstratively” opening fire at a shooting range.
The exact charges Bilzerian faces were not immediately clear.
The alleged incident occurred after a trip that Bilzerian, 37, made to the neighboring country of Armenia.
Bilzerian, who is of Armenian descent, arrived in the capital city of Yerevan on Monday. He and his brother took part in a naturalization ceremony where they became Armenian citizens. Per the laws of the country, he also registered for military service.
Bilzerian tells PEOPLE that after the ceremony, he traveled to Karabakh with a group of other people — though of that group, only Bilzerian has been charged with a crime.
A source in the Azerbaijan government told Armenian Public Radio that “Interpol will search for the criminal.” (Interpol is the international organization that facilitates cooperation between police forces.)
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Bilzerian is the CEO of Ignite, a producer of cannabis products that are sold in licensed dispensaries in states where its sale is legal. He tells PEOPLE he thinks the arrest warrant was politically motivated.
“They only issued the warrant for my arrest, and nobody else on the trip,” he says. “I think it’s because I am a public figure and they want to try to make an example out of me.”
It appears that the country of Armenia is supporting Bilzerian.
PEOPLE confirms with the Consulate General of Armenia that the nation has contacted Interpol and urged them to dismiss Azerbaijan’s prosecution of Bilzerian as political.
Bilzerian vows to fight the charges, but says he’s focused on his work at Ignite. (He recently unveiled a search for spokesmodels for his new business, paying $1 million to models he hires.)
He tells PEOPLE that he has “no interest in ever going to Azerbaijan.”
Source: Read Full Article