2019 April 15

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & Main - Apr/15/2019: Panama Papers' first casualty.... Pashinyan's Ranchpar visit ends with busts.... Zartonq uprising... Dodi Gago flexing on Nikol.... Former Yerevan mayor donated >600mln to Serj bro.... Helsinki group.... Government could aid SPAYKA.... international.... Sports
by ar_david_hh

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

Former HHK MP and judiciary enforcement chief Mihran Poghosyan (exposed by Panama Papers) is charged with one related and two unrelated cases. He is accused of abuse of power and embezzlement of 44mln, by appointing his bodyguard and a chauffeur to office positions, who didn't attend to work but received a salary.

Prosecutors: He abused the powers to sign contracts with companies that in reality belonged to him, but were registered under others' names. It took place on 2011-2016. His firm Catherine Group signed a 211mln worth car purchase contracts. He used state funds to purchase the cars at a much higher prices than their market values were.

As for the ongoing offshore investigation, prosecution says he used foreign individuals to create 2 offshore firms in Panama. Months later, he replaced these foreign CEOs with his own relatives. Through them, he participated in these companies' business and used them to create a firm in Armenia called Best Realty. He then used his official powers to sign contracts with this offshore firm belonging to him, between 2014-2016.

Prosecutors are seeking an arrest warrant. Update: The court has given an arrest warrant. Poghosyan is currently abroad, on the run. The investigation continues.


Remember when Pashinyan made a sudden visit to Ranchpar settlement and the residents complained about a land and sand deals? An investigation was launched. Today they say they have uncovered multiple felonies.

Investigators say: The municipality sold/leased lands illegally on 14 instances between 2002-2005. Some lands were sold for cheaper than market values. Negligence in the money collection resulted in millions of Drams being underpaid to state, until 2019. Examination showed that some companies that leased a land to dig up sand, went beyond the legal limits and stole lands. The mayor organized phony auction and sold his own relative 39 hectare land for 50% below the market value. Large pieces of arable lands were illegally used for other purposes. Violations were found in low income aid distribution process.


Zartonq village residents closed the roads and demanded the mayor's resignation for "embezzling money meant for the poor and soldiers, and bad management". The residents showed documents allegedly proving improper aid distribution. The mayor denies the allegations.

An argument between two groups led to the mayor's grandson using a hunting rifle to wound several protesters who were close to his house. The police arrested several participants and the shooter.

Several people are also implicated in a case after the protesters beat up a school guard for not letting them enter the school. The school director is the mayor's daughter. The residents say that the school director threatened to beat their kids and make sure they fail the classes because their parents participated in the protests. The director denies the accusations. The parents are boycotting the school and will home-school the kids until the director resigns. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m5GcfBe-Eo

The residents opened the railways when the SOC chief Sanasaryan arrived and promised to investigate the residents' complaints.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/159003 ---- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/971200.html --- https://hetq.am/hy/article/101673 ---- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/971274.html


The SOC concluded the audit and found several things that could indicate a criminal activity by the municipality. The findings are sent to the prosecutors.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/159007 ---- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK8wcpSdACs


The mayor of 23 years has submitted his resignation letter to the governor.


Update: Two customs workers submitted their resignation after Pashinyan urged them to quit for keeping the room dirty and having the flag thrown on the ground. Several other workers were given a verbal warning. No employees were directly fired.

Pashinyan later added that the man who quit has a lengthy work record in the government and shouldn't have a difficulty finding a new work if he has the skills. He called the event as a great opportunity to raise a general awareness among government workers to be more respectful to their duties and the flag, especially if they wear insignia uniform.

www.aysor.am/am/news/2019/04/13/մաքսատուն-պեկ/1551377 ----- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/971334.html

BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan owns Ararat cement factory. His party members earlier fought hard to convince the government to approve a cement import tariff, so Gagik can do his business without laying people off due to inability to compete. The government agreed to help the local cement industry by taxing Iranian cement.

Despite this, today, Gagik's cement workers are protesting because the factory sent them a letter asking them to sign a voluntary layoff form. As many as 1,200 could be let go.

The employees believe Gagik is trying to harm the Pashinyan government through a sabotage. The workers said the company management told them to go close streets. One worker said the company's bosses shouldn't expect the workers to protest against the government for the layoffs. They demand a meeting with Gagik. They also complained about poor working conditions at the factory.



The factory CEO met the workers. He said the layoffs, demanded by the firm's board of trustees, is a business decision to maximize their profit, and isn't done because the company is losing money. The company isn't operating on lossess. (thank you for the honesty?)

He also added that cement can be made from a cheaper material, which is now the main way to produce cement (milk powder vs milk), and is being imported at large quantities, and isn't tariffed unlike the real cement. Because the government refused tariffs on this cheaper alternative, the firm has to import this cheaper thing too, to reduce the costs. This cheaper thing doesn't require as many workers in the factory, so they have to lay some people off, said the CEO.

The workers said the company was directing them to shut down streets and protest, but they refused.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/159084 ---- http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/267664

Former HHK mayor Taron Margaryan gave ~650mln from city's budget to a charity run by Serj's brother Levon Sargsyan, between 2016-18. The funds were allegedly used for planting trees and repairing playgrounds. Under the new administration on 2019, the city ended the donation and will use its own city-run organizations to do the work.

When Margaryan gave the money to the foundation, it made no attempts to find out how effectively this public money was spent. No documents exist that will allow a proper audit.

It appears Sargsyan's foundation is also avoiding taxes. Records show that they only have one registered employee whose paycheck taxes show up on the record.

The foundation also received donations from Yerevan Foundation, which was busted last year by NSS.


A man was taken to a hospital from a police station. The man's relative accused police officers of beating him in a station, and the doctors of not helping him. The man later died from a heart failure caused by a drug overdose, says the hospital.

The police says the man swallowed a bag of meth, which let to cardiac arrest. He was a former felon and a murder suspect who was arrested on April 7th.

The investigators are examining the police officers based on the reports, and also the person who reported that the police beat the man and the medics refused to treat the patient, for possibly lying.


Helsinki human rights organization in Armenia says the police acted illegally on April 19, 2018 while detaining a pro-Pashinyan protester for no reason and keeping him detained illegally long.


Yerevan city has issued Sanitek garbage collector company another 13mln fine for failing to do its duties. The company has been at the epicenter of criticism for a while. The city is unable to get rid of them easily because of an existing legal contract, which was signed by the former Yerevan administration through violations, during which a dummy company was used as a dummy competitor to make it seem Sanitek was winning the contract fairly. The entire city's garbage collection duties were placed on one company.

The city plans to do its own garbage collection when the opportunity arrives.


The Ministry of Agriculture has vowed to aid SPAYKA import-export giant in the event it faces a difficulty with buying products from farmers due to the pending 7bln fraud case. Ministry also welcomes any competition in the field.


Agriculture Ministry will buy arable lands from owners in the event they can't find a buyer. 40% of arable lands are unused in Armenia. 20% of arable land owners aren't in Armenia, while others aren't using theirs efficiently.

The government could pass a law to require unused land owners to lease it to others.

They also plan to help two neighboring landlords to swap lands so that a landlord who owns several pieces of lands scattered around can consolidate them in one large chunk.

The pilot plan to insure land owners in 6 provinces from natural disaster has already begun.


Transparency International, Information Freedom Center and Yerevan Media Club support the idea of improving media transparency so that the readers will know who is behind each media outlet.

A media club representative says that for the first time, after a new government came to power, no forced media takeaway took place, with even gov-funded organizations continuing to have large opposition presence.


(this thread isn't run or paid for by any political party or politician 😉)

PM Pashinyan has (indirectly) criticized the Russian state media for airing fake news accusing him of persecuting the March 1st 2008 mastermind Robert Kocharyan. Said every international media network should know the boundaries of correctness. The media is free in Armenia, and Kocharyan's court trial will answer the questions that the media has, added Pashinyan.

Earlier, some MPs suggested limiting Rossiaya TV's access to free airways in Armenia, accusing it of airing a black PR piece containing misinformation about the topic that is very sensitive in Armenia.


2,000 Syrian-Armenians in Apello gathered in a church to celebrate the Tsakhkazard, the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. Similar festivities were held in Armenia.


Syrian schools will begin to teach about the Armenian genocide and other crimes of Ottoman Turkey. Armenian-Syrian MP Nora Arisyan is credited for the years of work that led to its passage.


Armenians in United States gathered on front of the White House and asked president Donald Trump to recognize the Armenian Genocide.


The police has found and is questioning an anti-LGBT activist who brandished a knife and threatened to kill LGBT, during a protest after the trans activist's speech in Parliament.

www.aysor.am/am/news/2019/04/13/ուտիլիզացնել-ոստիկանություն/1551283 ----- The threat https://youtu.be/TZGjgqW1XB4?t=383

Health Ministry will install solar panels on 15 of its buildings.


Despite the fact that Armenia hasn't had diplomatic relations with Hungary since 2013 after ax murderer Safarov's release from prison, the Hungarian Parliament has just unanimously approved the EU-Armenia agreement.



Armenian and Azeri FMs have agreed to take humanitarian steps to allow Armenian and Azeri families to visit their relatives in prisons. Artsakh Republic has announced they also support the plan.


Azerbaijan is also trying to sign a comprehensive cooperation deal with EU. As part of it, Azeris have been trying to add to the agreement a clause that recognizes Artsakh Republic as part of Azerbaijan, without mentioning (Artsakh) people's right for self determination. It appears that EU is so far refusing to do so. This might explain the delays in the agreement signing, which is now scheduled to be done this May.

When Armenia signed the similar agreement with EU, it recognized the right for self determination and territorial integrity, which is a balanced approach welcomed by Armenia.


51KG Anush Grigoryan becomes the boxing world cup winner.



Wrestler Arsen Julfalakyan wins bronze in the European championship



Another GrecoRoman wrestler Karen Aslanyan wins bronze in 2019 European championship

Video: https://a1plus.am/hy/article/337920


Weightlifter Simon Martirosyan is the 2019 European champion.



Weightlifter Samvel Gasparyan wins silver in 2019 European championship.



In another category, Weightlifter Ruben Alexanyan wins bronze in European championship



Vahagn Davtyan wins bronze in the 2019 European athletics championship



Chess Grandmaster Tigran Harutyunyan wins the French LUC Open competition. 126 participants. 7.5pts/9pts.


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bdmknb/anticorruption_main_apr152019_panama_papers_first/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports














2019 Daily Armenia Reports