2019 April 4

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & Main - Apr/4/2019: Big! Pashinyan reports his own relative for bribery.... HHK MP & illegal land sales.... SPAYKA boss arrested.... NSS releases SOC agent.... Germany approves EU-AM.... Fake news.... Fire in Parliament... Popular singer.... Subsidies... Investments.... Correction.
by ar_david_hh

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

Another former HHK MP, Tokhmakhi Mher, is implicated in an illegal land sales story, after the investigators found that Yerevan municipality members abused their powers to sell Mher's son and others lands for pennies, lands that weren't allowed to be sold.

Investigators say that on 2004, a district municipality workers held a session and passed an illegal ordinance allowing large chunks of territories in prestigious Vardavar gardens to be sold for low prices (the buyer says the low price was justified under 2004 laws). One area was given as a gift, for free.

The district leader, instead of stopping the illegal sales, he himself authorized even more lands appropriation. Dozens of thousands of square-meter land was illegally sold.

The article suggests that MP Mher was one of the decision makers, while his son was one of the land recipients.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158219 ----- The buyer's response https://news.am/arm/news/505299.html

PM Pashinyan says he reported his own close relative to the authorities for corruption. A criminal case was launched. He expects it to be handled according to law. PM added "I don't want to sound like a masochist".


NSS has let go free one of the SOC (State Oversight Committee) agents who was earlier arrested under the suspicion of helping a company to win a medical contract. The employee is the head of the SOC department that checks to make sure auctions were done according to law. He is asked to stay in the country.


IRS boss confirms that Serj-linked SPAYKA import-export giant's CEO has been arrested. The company was caught under-paying billions in taxes last year. It's unclear if this is related to that story.


A deadly car accident took place in Yerevan few months ago. Today, the investigators revealed that the famous singer Spitakci Hayko is one of the defendants in the case. Hayko himself denied that the felony charges were pressed again him, says the investigation still continues.

Investigators say another driver hit a pedestrian and knocked her on the ground. Spitakci Hayko, driving behind, ran over that pedestrian and didn't stop to help her.

Both drivers are told not to leave the country. Hayko could face involuntary vehicular manslaughter charges (up to 5 years), and escaping an accident scene (from a large fine to 3yr)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158272 ---- https://www.arlis.am/documentview.aspx?docid=69646 ---- https://hraparak.am/post/1261367001

Zangezrmur copper mine is suing Lydian Armenia (Amulsar) mine for an alleged defamation. Lydian released a video last year accusing their competitor Zangezur of providing aid to anti-Lydian protestors.


Police chief Osipyan says the traffic cops "pardoned" 75,000 more drivers on 2018 vs 2017. That number for 2019Q1 is 9,000 more than 2018Q1. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158266

The police caught the asshole drifter who blocked the traffic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs0wEhnfLNc

The government is holding a session.

Update to a story: Yesterday we learned that some gas stations raised prices. Some in the media, and yours truly, wrote that it's because of the changes to the fact that gas stations begun to measure gas in kilograms instead of cubic meter. In reality, that law hasn't passed yet (passed only by the government but not Parliament yet), so the stations aren't required to measure per kilo even though they have the ability to do so, so the reason for the price difference could be something else.

Gazprom has recently (3 days ago) increased the density of the gas provided to stations, says a minister. This could have played a role because station employees do density calculations every morning.

Some have speculated that stations are raising the price on purpose as a protest after the IRS begun busting gas stations with tax dodging and other violations.

When or if the law that requires the gas to be measured in KG passes, many of these issues will be solved, said a minister.

VIDEO EXPLANATION https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLpsAh9M_oM

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/970047.html --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158229 ----

NSS Vanetsyan says the law enforcement can't do anything about anonymous fake accounts unless the posts contain illegal content. "We have to be careful not to harm the freedom of speech", said Vanetsyan.

Context: During the government session, Pashinyan complained to NSS Vanetsyan that something should be done about fake social media accounts operated by the former regime which pretend to be revolution supporters and and call for violence against others, and criminal elements which spend millions to manipulate the public with fake information to create discontent and hatred.

https://www.lragir.am/2019/04/04/431912/ --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158252 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158229 ---- https://factor.am/138845.html ---- Pashinyan video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqh8o1szdIw


Former Human Rights Ombudsman says the best solution against fake news peddlers is to reveal the sources, and end any illegal money flow if it exists.


Speaking of fake news.

Roboserj media and opposition LHK party leader spread rumors that QP party rented one of its offices from the former HHK IRS chief. They pushed the conspiracy theory that this is why the former IRS chief isn't behind bars yet. QP published information saying the owner of the building is something else.


(The logic is this. The former IRS chief isn't behind bars right now not because the law enforcement is doing their job properly by gathering all the evidence before going to court, but because QP got "bribed" over a pathetic room rental 👏👏. Needless to say the former IRS chief has already been implicated in multiple criminal cases. Stay classy 👏)

Government gave a temporary tax-free status to Decora-Group so it can invest 1.2bln in tech products to expand the current business with 15 new jobs with 220k salary. Annual 4.9bln production with 1.2bln exports.



Temporary tax free status for Esco-Farm so it can invest 600mln in pharmaceutical production. 40 additional jobs. 1.2bln annual production, which will be entirely exported to EAEU.



Q1 2019 vs Q1 2018 stats of the investments projects that received a special tax-free status by the government: $146mln vs $5mln worth investments. 912 vs 140 jobs.



Pashinyan threatened to fire 7,000 government employees who failed to do their job which resulted in pension payout delays last month.

A law was passed on 2017 to digitize some of the process in future, which involved digital signatures and approvals. 10,000 government employees were supposed to sign something, but 7,000 failed to do so properly on time, despite being reminded twice.

Pashinyan scorched the department chiefs and said these employees will be on the front rows when the next wave of government optimizations arrive. 🔥



The government approved the expansion of salary bonuses in IRS to increase the payments to the customs duty workers, too. Pashinyan said a worker who passes and declares millions of Drams of products every day deserves more than a 160k/mo salary.

PM also noted that IRS staff used to receive "envelopes with money" in past, but that corrupt practice is over. Overall, 2.3bln will be spent on the project.



Another farm loan subsidy program.

The farmer will receive a 50% subsidy on a loan to build a "smart" cattle house which increases the animal productivity. 70% subsidy for wounded war vets or border villagers.

The maximum project size should be 85mln to assure only small or medium farms benefit.

How it works:

The farmer takes a loan and starts building the cattle house. Once some of it is built, the government verifies that he is really serious about doing the project, and compensates 50%/70% of the loan as a gift so the farmer can continue to build.

The other part of the loan, which is not subsidized, the farmer will pay within 5 years at 0-5% interest rate, down from the previous 12%.

https://factor.am/138620.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/970048.html


The government pardoned Matenadaran's 78mln VAT taxes.


Magic stick in action? Armavir's new administration collected 35-54% more taxes now, versus the same period of 2018. The budget has crosses the 1bln mark for the first time.


A room in Parliament building caught fire and destroyed the furniture. Firefighters put it out in 20 minutes. It was caused by electric wires.


Minister of Emergency Tsolakyan says Sevan Lake will rise by ~7cm by the end of 2019, vs same period of 2018. This year the climate was cold and ice is melting late (which is good), which is why the levels are a bit low right now, but will rise just before the agricultural water-drain season starts. Overall, the Arpa river and others are expected and have begun to bring more water to Sevan. This is going to result in the levels rising by 45cm by June.


During a trip to Russia, Education Minister says they have managed to remove obstructions in Russia which were preventing Armenian language from being taught as a class for Armenian students.


BHK invited the Russian Parliament deputy-speaker to visit Dodi Gago's new property project and the new Russian-Armenian school he is building in Abovyan.


Germany becomes the 11th EU body and 10th state (28 needed) to approve the EU-Armenia Comprehensive cooperation agreement. AfD abstained. All other parties voted in favor. No one voted against, says HHK Ashotyan who was in Germany. Armenia ratified it on April 11th, 2018.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/158293 ------ Ashotyan explains https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGrmb8ETql0

93,000 fewer women will exist by 2060 because of selective abortions by parents who prefer boys. The birth ratio is 111b/100g. The overall trend is positive, with the selective abortion becoming less popular.

Stats show that women with higher education, and women in poor regions, are more likely to abort a baby girl.


Wikipedia's Western Armenian site is open at hyw.wikipedia.org


Armenian travelers met the Azeri Foreign Minister in an airplane and asked a few questions.

Russian lang. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEc-cp3BNRo

An opposition party in Gerogia, and some others, created fake religious groups so the 6,900 members would become exempt from army. The Parliament didn't like it, so a bill is proposed to limit the army exemption only to (certified) Orthodox church clergy.

Dozens of public organizations have labeled the bill as discriminatory.


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/b9iqog/anticorruption_main_apr42019_big_pashinyan/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports














2019 Daily Armenia Reports