2018 December 5

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption Dec/5/2018: A second audio call is leaked, showing how NSS tried to avoid a diplomatic problem with Russia; Hospital director's assets are frozen; Another hospital director and staff return stolen funds; Gas stations are coming out of shadow economy; Yerevan has a new Christmas Tree.
by ar_david_hh

All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.

Kocharyan/HHK allies publish the second part of illegally wiretapped phone call, this one between Pashinyan and NSS chief Vanetsyan, in which Vanetsyan asks Pashinyan if it would cause diplomatic issues for Armenia if NSS presses charges against Yuri Khachaturov. Pashinyan has already revealed this conversation few months ago during the Parliamentary session. You can read it here https://armenpress.am/arm/news/957011.html

...Phone call discussion: NSS calls PM, who is currently in Russia, to seek advise whether CSTO military chief Khachaturov's charges need to be postponed to avoid diplomatic problems between Armenia and Russia. Pashinyan asks for more time so he can discuss with (possibly) Russians the political outcomes of it, because Yuri Khachaturov is the CSTO chief. Later: NSS Vanetsyan tells Pashinyan that Russian FSB (KGB) contacted him and suggested to arrest Yuri only after removing him as the head of CSTO, in order not to harm the military organization's reputation. NSS and PM are concerned that Yuri might run away if he is let go.

NSS briefs PM about the Kocharyan charges. NSS says the judge said he was concerned (for having to deal with the high profile politician), NSS told the judge to have courage and get back to him if there is more paperwork needed for the prosecution and arrest. Later: NSS tells PM he is confident Kocharyan will be arrested; the trial is currently going.

NSS calls SIS: talks about the possible diplomatic problem caused by pressing arrest charges against Yuri. They agree to seek either signature not to leave the country or a bail sum, instead of an arrest. They agree to notify the judge that they don't seek an arrest warrant. NSS is concerned that Yuri might not have enough cash to pay the bail so he'll end up being arrested and cause the problem that they're trying to avoid. They agree that signature to stay in Armenia is impractical because he works abroad. They eventually agree to ask for bail. NSS says he wants to talk to PM again to make sure they aren't causing a big diplomatic problem for Armenia.

http://armtimes.com/hy/article/149919

... Pashinyan says the audio call was edited to remove the part where Pashinyan asks what NSS chief meant by "the judge is afraid to hear the Kocharyan case", and that it is NSS's job to protect judges' security and impartiality. He says all of the actions by NSS/SIS chiefs were lawful. Pashinyan says "the leaks are a desperate step by the leakers because the anti-corruption ring is tightening around them." https://armenpress.am/arm/news/957021.html

... the judge who presided over Khachaturov case says there was no pressure on him, and suggests to read the court records to understand the reason behind the verdict. Note: The NSS/SIS, who are on the prosecuting side, have the right to decide what charges they want to press against a suspect (Khachaturov). They then notify the court about the intended charges. They have the legal right to decide whether to ask for an arrest or a bail. The leakers have attempted to portray the story as if an abuse of power took place and the judge was pressured to let Khachaturov get away easy with bail money. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/149924

Serj's relative and the director of St. Gregory Illuminator hospital, who was charged with massive embezzlement scheme to steal subsidized funds, has had his bank accounts and assets worth hundreds of thousands of $ frozen. There is an arrest warrant in-absentia against him. Two other high ranking hospital staff are also charged with crimes http://armtimes.com/hy/article/149867

Radiation clinic director and staff have returned AMD 12mln in stolen money after the authorities discovered book-cooking and other fraud by the staff to falsify the patient records with the intention of receiving and embezzling subsidy money from the state. The investigation continues to reveal if other fund were stolen. This is the same type of crime that was committed in St. Gregory Illuminator hospital https://factor.am/105232.html

Only 14 MPs show up for a vote to strip HHK MP of immunity to let the authorities arrest him for a $14mln bribery. The vote fails the second day in a row. An MP says it's because of the election season and not to protect anyone. http://armtimes.com/hy/article/149888

Pashinyan says the gas station business has doubled since the revolution because the stations are coming out of shadow economy to report more accurate numbers to IRS https://armenpress.am/arm/news/956932.html

House appliances factory opens in Merdzavan, Armavir. It'll produce refrigerators, TVs, washing machines. It is a project by Armenian-Lebanese-Syrian investors. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/149936

The Prime Minister was distributing election booklets in metro and buses today. He says the city should have a unified transportation system that'll show accurate bus arrival times. He also knocked on random doors. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/956964.html ------ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypZR9faJgFQ

Today was the big debate day. Party leaders were debating LIVE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPRONKHsF6k

... Each party's plans TLDR in their own words https://armenpress.am/arm/news/957054.html

Electoral Committee issues an apology for an earlier error which led media outlets to report that Pashinyan and several other parties made violations during Parliamentary election registration process, as well as for mixing up the candidate wealth declaration files. https://hetq.am/hy/article/98759

NSS has invited HHK candidate Davit Shahnazaryan to testify and provide documents against Pashinyan. Shahnazaryan earlier accused Pashinyan of treason, collusion with the enemy and to give Artsakh to Azerbaijan. Because he presented it as a fact, suggested he has information (but said wouldn't publish publicly) and accused state officials of high crimes, NSS urges him or anyone else with info that would prove these allegations to come forward. Shahnazaryan also accused Sasun Mikaelyan of a similar crime on 1994; the latter labeled the claim as false and treacherous. Pashinyan has referred to Shahnazaryan as a "charlatan" who wants to win political points with the comments. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/956938.html

Food Safety Inspection committee has made an unannounced visit to Eghegnadzor canned food factory and found that 65 employees didn't go through proper medical evaluation and didn't have sanitary certificates. Their work has been suspended. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/956924.html

Russia has canceled the contract to deliver Bal-3 missile units to Azerbaijan, citing the fact that it could be a threat to their own Caspian navy fleet, and to prevent its modified missiles from being used against Artsakh, per Interfax source https://armenpress.am/arm/news/956920.html

Artsakh Republic has rejected Azeri offer to do an all-for-all swap of citizens, citing the fact that two of the Azeris held by Artsakh had murdered teenage boy Smbat Tsakanyan, soldier Sargis Abrahamyan and wounded a woman Karine Davtyan during their spying operation (which they recorded on video), and don't qualify for a swap. Elnur Husseinzadeh, however, hasn't committed any heavy crimes other than an infiltration attempt on 2017, so Artsakh authorities are considering to release him in exchange for one of 3 Armenian captives. The Azeri authorities, in an attempt to deny the fact that their military attack had failed on 2017, told the public that Husseinzadeh wasn't in the army at the time of his capture. The soldier's patents publicly insisted otherwise. http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/263091/ ---- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/956923.html

Yerevan municipality will install a new Christmas Tree for the first time since 2005. The old one required AMD 25mln/year for upkeep, lost its looks because of natural parts, and had an outdated look. The new tree will be 12-story high, more colors, lights, and last for over a decade. It was purchased for 73mln. http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/263110/

Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/a3gavo/anticorruption_dec52018_a_second_audio_call_is/

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