2019 April 30
Anti-Corruption Apr/30/2019: Kocharyan office & $4mln bribery case.... Youth Foundation chief charged with ֏326mln embezzlement and laundering.... SPAYKA CEO to remain in jail.... Driver's license reforms.... Pashinyan's relative officially charged with felony.... Fake news.... other stories inside
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Your daily fake news alert first.
The news about Saudi Arabia helping to lobby for US Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide turned out to be a very well made fake news. A fake site resembling a legitimate one was used in the process.
Education Minister wasn't happy with unsubstantiated rumors spread on Facebook by former HHK MP's brother, and threatened with a legal action for alleged defamation and false report. The HHK MP's brother said the minister allegedly received a ֏1mln watch as a corruption gift then asked his brother to sell and get cash because he doesn't need the watch. It's unclear where the rumor originated from.
Former SOC chief David Sanasaryan denies the rumors in media that he was charged with abuse of power as a punishment because he wanted to break away from QP and form his own party. Says he had no plans to join or create another party. Sanasaryan also denied having problems with NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan, the head of the security organisation which accused Sansaryan of abuse of power. Sanasaryan has urged Vanetsyan not to publicly comment on the case in order not to interfere with the investigation, as it is something he believes should be investigated by another security agency - the SIS.
Roboserj 168 Jam media outlet has been called out by IRS again, for spreading misinformation. The agency says the outlet is twisting Finance Minister's 2018 words, then using non-existent numbers while claiming the numbers were calculations done by Finance Ministry. The outlet wrote an article saying the Pashinyan administration failed to fill the state coffers with money and fell short of hundreds of billions of Drams. Details inside...
FIP says Roboserj outlet Yerevan Today spread misinformation regarding the European Court for Human Right's latest ruling, which found that Robert Kocharyan's administration illegally dispersed peaceful protesters on the morning of March 1st, applied illegal physical force against them, violated their Constitutional rights.
The ECHR didn't have enough evidence that during Ter Petrosyan's subsequent house arrest, the security agents overstepped their boundaries during the arrest. The court acknowledged the house arrest but decided not to examine the house arrest case altogether because in order for that to happen, LTP was supposed to first open a legal case in Armenian justice system regarding that incident, which he didn't do on 2008.
FIP says the Roboserj outlet incorrectly commented the ECHR's decision is if it said there was no illegal house arrest altogether.
Some details about the court case against Robert Kocharyan and others.
Court documents show that Rob is accused of taking a $3 million bribe (today it's 1.4bln Drams, on 2008 - 970mln) from businesswoman Silva Hambardzumyan in order to illegally remove legal obstacles, so her TSSC Armenia mining related firm could sell company shares to an offshore firm. Document says Rob took the bribe through the help of Roboserj media magnate Samvel Mayrapetyan, who is also charged with a felony, and was eventually allowed to travel to France to receive a surgery. The alleged bribery took place on February-May of 2008.
Rob's aide Armen Gevorgyan is also accused of taking another $1 million (480mln) bribe from the same businesswoman for the same purpose, on April 2008. In another instance, Gevorgyan is also accused of helping Rob to topple the Constitutional order in the "March 1st" investigation case.
This is the same Armen Gevorgyan who is accused of pressuring the Constitutional court to recognize Serj Sargsyan as the 2008 presidential election winner. After the election was challenged in the Constitutional court on 2008, a judge contacted the US Embassy in Armenia with a plea for help/advise, saying that Gevorgyan was allegedly pressuring the court through his relatives. Later, WikiLeaks leaked US Embassy-Washington communications cables, which reveled how the US Embassy reported to Washington about what the judge had told them about the pressures.
Militaryman Seyran Ohanyan and Yuri Khachaturov, as we already knew, are also charged with toppling the Constitutional order through involving military in politics.
The computer has picked a judge for this case to be heard in court. Up until now, the court hearings were about prosecutors asking Rob and others to be temporarily detained. Now we're approaching the beginning of the final stages of the legal process.
Businesswoman Silva Hambardzumyan also revealed that she paid $14 million (6.7bln) bribe to the former HHK MP and nature protection chief Aram Harutyunyan for illegal mining license related deals. The prosecutors are still looking for Harutyunyan, who is on the run. There is an arrest warrant for him. There are rumors he is hiding in Turkey, but it was denied by people close to him.
Last year the investigators begun auditing the Armenian Youth Foundation chief's actions. Today they announced the end of it. He is charged with large scale bribery and money laundering.
He is accused of stealing 326mln from the foundation by gradually draining the account between 2013-2018, then using multiple accounts and methods to launder the money to hide its origins. Prosecutors say he did this by signing 251 contracts with businesses registered under his family members. Once the firms received the funds, they transferred it to an offshore account in Great Britain. The offshore account then made hundreds of transactions with his wife's account located in Armenia, then from wife's account to his.
The director will be arrested, and his assets will be frozen.
Since 2001, the Armenian Youth Foundation has been receiving 2% of the tuition money paid by students attending state-run universities. After the 2018 revolution, the new education minister announced that the foundation will no longer receive these funds due to lack of trust.
Update: Former HHK Prime Minister Hovik "Muk" Abrahamyan is still unable to leave the country because the prosecutors are holding onto his passport. He was earlier charged with 2 felony counts of abuse of power and participating in illegal business dealings.
Appeals court has reaffirmed the Lower court decision to deny bail and keep the CEO of SPAYKA import-export giant detained. The courts ruled that he could interfere with the still-ongoing investigation, if let go free. Last year the firm was found to have underpaid several billions in taxes. The subsequent investigation revealed another >7bln tax avoidance. The investigation continues.
Update: Pashinyan's relative was recently caught falsifying education documents to get a job at a national park office. The prosecutors have just charged him with 1 count of forgery/falsification. He is told not to leave the country.
The police will make the driver's license exam stricter beginning June. At the moment, the behind the wheel driving test can be done either in a special park or the public streets. The new rules will require a test under both conditions. The "C" business-class licenses will require the applicants to prove they went through educational courses.
The driver's license appearance and few other procedures will also change to meet the EU standards.
The police says they have issued 88,000 fewer fines with the help of equipment (such as speeding cameras) on 2019Q1 vs 2018Q1. The violations caught by patrol officer increased by 20,000. More drivers were caught driving while drunk and with illegally darkened windows
On April 30 of 1991, Azerbaijan and USSR begun the Operation Ring to commit ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Karabakh's Shahumyan region. 22 Armenian settlement were attacked. 17,000 Armenians were forced to flee. Dozens of people lost their lives, while hundreds fell hostage. 85% of the population was Armenian before the attack. Shahumyan remains to be illegally occupied by Azeri army till this day.
Another high profile soccer star, this time Neymar, is accused of not paying taxes. Brazilian authorities have frozen his assets such as jet and helicopter. He made 92mln Euro last year. Ronaldo and Messi have gone through similar investigations in their countries.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bj83jd/anticorruption_apr302019_kocharyan_office_4mln/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|