2019 August 1
Anti-Corruption & News from Armenia - Aug/1/2019
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.
Diasporan journalist Peter Musurlian wins his 3rd Los Angeles Emmy Award for directing and narrating a Holocaust related film. His grand-family survived the genocide.
The widespread Siberian infernos are a result of not containing the fire on time, and somewhat due to a dry weather, says the Russian government. Donald Trump offered help with extinguishing it after the smoke reached US.
The director of Georgian Oil Importers Union says they are forced to improve the fuel quality standards in 2021 instead of 2020 because Azerbaijan is unable to improve their oils refineries on time. "It's cheap, but they can't keep up with standards". If the standards improve in 2020, Georgia will have to look for Russia as the main diesel fuel partner.
Iran plans to flat out remove four zeros from their "Rial" currency because it ain't worth anything. They also want to rename it after the old "Toman", and introduce coins. Currency devalued from 37k per dollar to 180k per dollar since 2018 after Trump's economic pressures.
A group of human smugglers from Iran and Armenia took $12,000 from several Iraqi residents and sent them to Armenia with fake passports. The travelers tried to use the fake Spanish, Greek and French passports to fly to Europe, but NSS caught them before boarding. 5 people are charged.
Rumors says they will stay in Armenia and play in the national soccer league. /s
The government approved Pashinyan's plan to move Araratyan car customs clearance facility from Yerevan to Gyumri. 181mln dedicated. Pashinyan earlier promised to do it as part of the idea to move certain structures to provinces to help improve the development of other cities.
Pashinyan said they agreed with Georgia so the latter can repair their part of the road that connects to Armenia in an area that can be used as a substitute to offload some of the burden from the other border customs points. Armenia is repairing roads on its side.
The government gave a piece of land to a food production firm Nairi so it can invest 260mln and create 45 jobs
Tax waiver was given to Lentex textile firm so it can expand the business in Gyumri by investing 5bln and creating 460 jobs with avg 80k salary in 3 years.
HELLO textile firm received a tax pardon so it can continue the 134mln investments necessary for 79 jobs.
ProfPanel solar panel production firm received a tax waiver so it can invest 2.9bln and add 5 more jobs with avg 175k salary. 5.9bln goods to be produced.
In 2018, 11% of real estate transactions were done by foreign citizens, and the purchases outnumbered sales by 2x.
Hundreds of Armenian tourists were stuck in Egypt after their scammy tour agency failed to properly pay and handle flights. Audits show some of these middle-man tour agencies also avoided taxes. Police chief said there is a felony case against some of these agencies. Their offices were raided.
Several cemeteries were vandalized since July 23rd. Today it happened in Yerablur, where the military graves are. The vandal poured molten candle around the stones. Nothing was broken.
The police caught the perpetrator after someone reported a person with a suspicious behavior. Perpetrator said she was doing a ritual with molten candles to free the area from demons. 🎬
The molten candle was cleaned up
NSS and Ijevan police says they busted the former director of the City Culture House with registering a non-existent worker then embezzling 0.6mln in salaries in 2016.
Ijevan gallery former director is busted embezzling 5mln by paying himself salary while not going to work. In a similar fashion, the director embezzled 3mln from a salary for a non-existent worker.
BHK MP and former Gyumri mayor Vardan Ghukasyan's son is facing felony charges for falsifying health records and marriage data to avoid military draft, say authorities. The incident most likely happened years ago as he is 34 years old at the moment.
Justice Minister Badasyan says the upcoming judicial reforms will hold judges accountable (suspension, etc.) if their verdicts are overturned by international courts such as ECHR. The oversight institute will have a say whether judge's mistakes were severe enough to be punishable.
Minister urged the public not to fall for the opposition circles' manipulations regarding the "traditional values and the Istanbul Convention". Says it doesn't bring anything new in regards to gender terminology that hasn't existed in Armenian law since 2013. Transgenderism and gender as a social construct was recognized in Armenia in 2013. Convention does not mandate new terms around this. He urged media outlets to hold the alarmists accountable several years from now by asking them why the gay marriage or adoptions are still not a thing.
In October, Venice Commission will give an opinion whether the Convention meets the Armenian Constitution.
Minister said domestic abuse is widespread in Armenia and many times the law enforcement encourages women not to report incidents. Convention will regulate this and train the law enforcement.
Minister said they will replace Armenia's second representative to Venice Commission because he isn't independent enough. The man is infamous Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan's friend and was involved with writing the new Constitution.
The first (main) representative, who will remain in Venice, is also a HHK ally. He was the Supreme Council Chief until very recently before he resigned amid public protests. In 2018, he resigned from the Constitutional Court chief's position to allow HHK to appoint Hrayr Tovmasyan as the new Constitutional Court chief.
Update: in an earlier post I incorrectly wrote that there will be a 3rd representative. This "3rd representative" in reality is a replacement for the 2nd one.
Gegharquniq provincial prosecutors have made 3x as many public official corruption busts in 1H19 vs 1H18. From those who got busted, 6 were mayors.
Directors of two Construction firms tasked with building the North-South highway are charged with felony forgery and tax avoidance, in a 520mln case. They have been arrested.
Update: general Manvel Tushonja Grigoryan's son was the Ejmiatsin mayor. Few months earlier he was charged with embezzlement after the investigators found numerous falsification and theft instances. Former mayor is now charged with 8 felonies. Few more high ranking city officials are also charged. 26mln has been recovered.
Update: former HHK MP and nature minister has been on the run after businesswoman admitted she gave him dozens of millions of dollars bribe to obtain a business permission. Minister's aide was at the time arrested for allegedly helping the Minister to launder the money through Middle Eastern nations. Today, the court has ruled that the charges against the aide are merited and he should remain locked up.
Detailed report of how the former HHK Prime Minister and previously Infrastructure Minister Hovik "Muk" Abrahamyan, while in office, obtained large swaths of lands through shenanigans involving registering them under friends' names.
NSS and SIS have summoned the former deputy Defense Minister Vahan Shirkhanyan to "clarify a few things". He earlier wrote an open letter saying Kocharyan was trying to give Meghri to Azerbaijan, and that he deliberately neglected 35,000 Artsakh war refugees forcing them to relocate to Armenia.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ckt6ho/anticorruption_news_from_armenia_aug12019/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|