2019 February 14
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
The investigators have concluded the preliminary investigation of Manvel Grigoryan case. New charges were pressed against him.
Here is the latest list: possession of illegal weapons, theft of 101mln worth property, avoiding 1.3bln in taxes, wasting 1.2bln from the state, extortion of 37mln, colluding with officials to avoid taxes, falsification of documents.
Moreover, the criminal scheme was allegedly coordinated with his family members, including his son, who is now wanted by the police for helping to steal 101mln from Yerkrapah organization through his company. This son is not to be confused by his other son who was Ejmiatsin mayor.
Article contains the full list of weapons and tushonkas found in his house, and how exactly he stole them (some of which were also found in his wife's home) .
$9 billion was laundered out of Armenia between 2004-2013, says Transparency International.
A former FBI agent gave a talk during Helsinki committee, during which he said the United States can help Armenia to return the funds, if the Armenian government cooperates and provides evidence of theft. The process would take several years to complete, and some of the funds would be impossible to trace and return. The US is willing to do its part, said former agent Brian Earl.
Thank you Brian. Really cool.
BHK Gagik Tsarukyan's chief bodyguard beat someone last year. He was arrested and charged. Court later released him under 20mln bail.
The investigators have concluded the investigation and decided to send the case to prosecutors to press charges against him. He is currently serving as a BHK MP after being elected on 2018 parliamentary elections.
Mayor Hayk Marutyan has fired the director of Yerevan Bus transport organization and instructed its 70 new and unused buses to be put to use. Mayor says he doesn't understand why people travel standing while there are so many unused cars left, especially since there are no driver shortages anymore.
The city plans to expand the route lanes and make reforms for workers before the new city-run transport system is built. The British company tasked with assessing the cost/plan for the new system will present the report within a few months.
The police has opened a felony corruption charges against several Ushi municipality administrators for stealing 3.2mln from the budget
Vayq school director faces criminal charges for hiring family members as employees and stealing 2.5mln in salaries, while they did not attend to work.
Third day of PM being grilled in Parliament:
Pashinyan got mad again during the session. He criticized the "old mentality" that not everyone can do business or entrepreneurship in Armenia.
Criticized some media headlines for misreporting his words. Earlier he said "poverty is in our mind" and brought his own example and how his family was poor. Some outlets reported it as "Pashinyan says it's your fault that you're poor".
He also criticized MPs who accused the government branch of having too many powers, while at the same time saying that the government should do all the business that he (Pashinyan) believes an ordinary citizen/private sector is supposed to do.
(Context: He is trying to change people's mindset to promote the idea that everyone can and should actively do business and be more economically active. His speech was accused by the opposition of sounding as if the poverty is only people's fault.)
The opposition has accused the government of not doing enough to progress the EU-Armenia deal.
Pashinyan denied the claim, saying there have been numerous public appearances and discussions with EU representatives who supported the deal, and that Armenia's relations with EU are better after the revolution.
(In the past several months, the EU representative and German side expressed willingness to support and speed up the process. Several other nations have declared they will ratify the deal in their parliaments. The EU countries must ratify the EU-ARM comprehensive cooperation deal before it's fully enacted).
The opposition has accused Pashinyan government of appointing one of its allies as a university rector whose salary is 800k.
Pashinyan accused the critics of misinformation, and doesn't understand why a worker who manages a university shouldn't earn that kind of salary. Says even a small business can offer more to do managing work of that scale. Accused the critics of ignoring that over 300 workers in the university receive a pay rise.
He also spoke a lot about the need to pay taxes, with some Christian history twist. Take it away...
Details about that university rector appointment story. LHK (Lusavor Hayastan) leader Edmon Marukyan accused Education Minister Araik Harutyunyan of appointing his close ally to Argrarian University's rector's position, and a possible corruption involving rector's salary, which was increased.
The Argarian University has called this a misinformation by the MP. They say the rectors aren't appointed by the Ministry, but are elected by the university's board. This particular person was elected unanimously, and he isn't a relative or a close friend of the Minister, said university.
The Univ has also defended the size of the rector's 855k salary, saying it is a fair compensation for the type of work, and will further reduce after taxes. They have also given a raise to 330 other university workers. University does not agree that the salary rise for the rector and 330 workers is a corruption. Their rector's salary is lower than for similar positions in other universities, notes the Agrarian response.
The university says Marukyan's sources of info are also inaccurate on other instances. The university does not have departments with only one employee and one manager, and that Marukyan's sources might have referred to two new departments which currently have many employees and one vacant job spot in each department, says the university.
More in the article.
Pashinyan repeated that 90% of the media in Armenia is owned by the "corrupt old regime", yet they don't go after them to shut them down. Says yesterday he received a report from an international organization (didn't disclose which) that agreed with his assessment that the government is not censoring news.
The Parliament has voted 82-37 in favor of the government's program, after questioning the PM for three days. BHK and LHK voted against it.
European ECHR court has ruled that the Armenian government and all 3 courts violated 6 farmers' property rights by taking their lands and not properly compensating them. The incident took place 10 years ago when Teghut mine was being built.
Another ECHR ruling was made against Armenian courts, which failed to do an adequate job in a worker/vacation related case which begun on 2011 and lasted several years.
The Judicial Board consisted of other judges has held a meeting and suspended Judge Araik Melkumyan, after accepting Justice Ministry's petition few months ago. No specific details as to why, yet. The board had earlier warned another judge for making violations during a court hearing involving a former March 1st investigator.
The prosecutors have made 30% fewer demands for an arrest on 2018 vs 2017.
For the first time, Armenia will have an agricultural insurance system. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently providing training to future insurance agents. The talks about creating an insurance begun last year after the government provided an aid to farmers for damages caused by hail.
Film producer Hovhannes Galstyan urges the government to follow the contract it signed with his movie studio on 2016, and to pay the money he believes the government owes to the film.
On 2016, the gov-run Armenian national cinema center and him made an agreement to fund a movie. On 2017, the Ministry of Culture temporarily took some of the money away for other purposes and never returned the funds, and the movie project was halted.
The producer demands the funds to be returned. He has held 2 hunger strikes. He also encouraged the public to donate whatever they can to the film's budget so he can complete it.
The new Ministry of Culture spoke to him on 2018 and suggested to re-negotiate with the national Cinema Center and his international partners so the movie wouldn't be canceled, but the producer has restarted the hunger strike citing lack of progress.
Politik.am media outlet published an article last year accusing Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan and few other collages of smoking marijuana in the government building, and accused Pashinyan of not taking action against it.
Avinyan called it false and defamation, and sued the outlet. He is seeking an apology and 2mln in compensations, which he plans to donate to students with good grades in journalism schools.
The first hearing of the lawsuit has just begun.
Deputy PM Girgoryan met with French representatives and spoke about some business-muisness stuff. The French president Macron has agreed to visit Armenia in the near future.
President Sarkissian's France trip has ended. He is in Germany, where he will meet with city mayor and university administrators. They'll talk about education, TUMO etc.
"Summit of Minds" international meeting with 300 influential politicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs and journalists will he held in Armenia this July, for the first time, after president Sarkissian made an agreement with the organizers last year. It is the first time that the summit is held outside of France.
Georgia has hired Exxon Mobile and another American fuel giant to explore its Black Sea oil and gas reserves. It is believed that Georgia has some reserves that are worth digging.
Georgia currently annually produces 30,000 tons of oil (2.5% of what they consume) and 16.5mln cub meter gas (0.7%).
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/aqopwl/anticorruption_feb142019/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|