2019 June 12

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News - Jun/12/2019: 13 million more taxable transactions... Kocharyan verdict challenge Day 1; prosecutors vs defense vs judge... Kocharyan vs Pashinyan lawsuit... Vsauce: is progressive taxation really progressive?... Gay bills... Yerevan mayor... Amulsar mine... other news inside
by ar_david_hh

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.

Robert Kocharyan is back in court because the prosecutors are challenging the earlier Cassations Court verdict that freed him. Some of the March 1st victims' relatives and the general prosecutor are also present. Supporters and opponents are gathered outside.



The Defense has asked judge Armen Danielyan to recuse himself because they don't know why this particular judge is hearing the two cases, one about Kocharyan's case being sent to Constitutional Court, second about Kocharyan being free under the personal guarantees of Artsakh presidents. Defense says the judge is biased, and speculated that he could have been picked because he has a record of usually siding with the prosecution.

Prosecutors argued against Kocharyan's recusal argument, saying the law does not list Kocharyan side's complaints as a reason for recusal.

A lawyer representing March 1st victims says Kocharyan's argument for judge's recusal is deliberately weak in order to make it appear as if they have an issue with the judge, while in reality the judge is on their side. She says the judge was appointed by Kocharyan and has a questionable record (currently they are checking his record with European courts) and she believes the judge should recuse himself for "real" reasons.

The lawyer also accused Artsakh president Bako Sahakyan of lying when earlier he said no army was sent to Yerevan during the 2008 events. People close to Bako were questioned and they testified how the soldiers were sent to Yerevan and stationed in the basement of the government building, said the lawyer.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/163708 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/163717 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/978175.html


General prosecutor Arthur Davtyan says there is a precedence by the European courts which conclude that a (former) public officials like Kocharyan can interfere with the case if released. He said thousands of people have been questioned in the March 1st investigation so far, but the process still continues.

He complained that the court is asking for examples of Kocharyan interfering with the case, while this isn't about proving that it has already happened, but rather about preventing a possible interference.



General prosecutor says that earlier the Cassations Court violated laws and without a proper hearing, in a hurry, made a verdict about them needing the Constitutional Court to clarify something for them, even though the Constitutional Court earlier made a ruling that Cassations courts have the right to make a verdict by using their interpretation of the Constitution. He described the events as an attempt to "delay time".



An Anti-Kocharyan protestor shouted in the court room accusing Kocharyan of murder and rape, after the session ended https://youtu.be/eVn2cxXEXWE?t=64 --https://youtu.be/lmf9Cx0sNrI?t=7

Next episode in 2 days...

A victim of March 1st violence is protesting in Strasbourg outside of the European Court of Human Rights building, demanding the 2008 murderers to be brought to justice. He is on a hunger strike. https://factor.am/159164.html

In another lawsuit, Robert Kocharyan is suing Nikol Pashinyan for an alleged defamation. In 2018, Pashinyan complained that a person should not have an immunity if he organizes a murder. Kocharyan claims it was a direct libel against him because the context of the conversation was about him, even though he wasn't directly named in the murder accusation part.

Pashinyan: "Կամ թեկուզ Ռոբերտ Քոչարյանին ազատ արձակելու մեկնաբանությունը: Ասում է՝ անձեռնմխելի է: Ի՞նչ է նշանակում անձեռնմխելի: Այսինքն, կարելի է մարդկանց սպանությունը կազմակերպել ու ասել՝ «Ես անձեռնմխելի՞ եմ»: Այդ որտե՞ղ է այդպես գրած"

Kocharyan's lawyer has agreed to drop the lawsuit after Pashinyan's lawyer clarified that Kocharyan was not the subject of the murder comment, and that "Այսինքն, կարելի է մարդկանց սպանությունը կազմակերպել ու ասել՝ «Ես անձեռնմխելի՞ եմ»" was a rhetorical question not directed towards a specific individual.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/163727 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/163735 -- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/978230.html

Finance Ministry says the upcoming tax reforms will increase investments by 1.5%, and exports by 0.8% every year. 0.8% increase in economic growth rate in long term.

It will also improve the export industries. Right now it is financially better to invest in industries related to internal consumption. The new changes will encourage more investments in export industries as well, which is the goal.



Central Bank board member Martin Galstyan testified during the Parliamentary economic hearing, saying the existing progressive taxation is progressive on paper only. In practice, it did the opposite by increasing income inequality, said the member.

Says in other countries, a 1% tax increase will increase the taxable income by 1.3x, while in Armenia it's 1.03x only. He says business investments are very important, but the direct investments have been reducing for the past 10 years, for multiple reasons, one of which is high taxes in Armenia compared to "competitor" countries.

Context: QP is trying to lower the taxes from 36% highest bracket, to 23% for everyone, then down to 20% within a few years. BHK is against it. Socialist wing of ARF has organized multiple protests outside of Parliament, demanding the progressive taxation's preservation. QP says 45bln/year in taxes will be lost from the income taxation, but the accompanying tax increase on certain products and programs will cancel out the negative balance.



Armen Khachatryan, a former high ranking policeman turned QP MP, doesn't want you to curse at the police officers and other members of authority for something they do as part of their job. He thinks cursing at the police in these situations should be criminalized. He cites the existence of other similar laws in EU, US and Russia as an example. It would be a shame if the voters let the party leadership know whether they support the MP's proposal https://www.civilcontract.am/contact

This is a proposal for now and hasn't been officially discussed yet.


............ OR ................

BHK party submitted a bill to the government to discuss the criminalization of "gay propaganda" for kids under 16. Punishment would be between 200x of minimal salary, up to 1 year in prison. Punishment doubles if done by a public official.

Examples: spreading photos or other materials about gays, commenting about gay relationships, urging to involve in gay activities.


Offshore kingpin and former HHK MP Mihran Poghosyan (under a house arrest in Russia) has been issued an administrative penalty by the Ethics Committee of High-Ranking Officials for failing to submit his property ownership data as of January 14th, when his term as an MP expired.


Pashinyan says in May-2019 vs May-2018 the number of taxable sales receipt printings rose by 13.1mln units. He thanked those who help to fight against the shadow economy.


Yerevan mayor Marutyan says it wasn't the municipality that fired the driver of the minibus who smoked on the wheel and was driving without a license, but the manager of his minibus line.

Says 90% of the transport network is private as of right now, but many of them don't want to operate it anymore and want the city to take over. The mayor wants the city to own the majority of the transport network. Private owners have stopped improving their networks. The city has submitted the new city-run transportation plan to the government.

Mayor earlier denied Sanitek garbage collector's claims that the issue with lack of garbage cans was partially due to many cans being destroyed during the 2018 revolution events. He said the shortage came years before that. He is thinking about ending the contact with the embattled Sanitek altogether.

Mayor said this year they dedicated 134mln for apartment complex elevator repairs, the highest amount so far.

https://factor.am/159264.html --- http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/269836/

Last year the government hired a company to examine Lydian Armenia's mining operations in Amulsar gold mine. The examination was concluded several weeks ago. The Investigative Committee is still examining whether some of the findings indicate an incompatibility with the surrounding nature, such as water resources. The final verdict will be published in a few weeks.


Azerbaijan continues to escalate the situation on the frontlines by fabricating accusations of ceasefire violations by Armenians. They now claim the Armenian side fired from large caliber weapons and mortars. Artsakh army denies, saying they can release a video footage in the region showing no such ceasefire violations took place from their side. Artsakh army is keeping the checks on Azeri bird flights at the border, which often cross the no man's land.


Tajik business group wants to invest in the IT sector in Armenia. They will also send a delegation to examine how Armenia managed to develop its dried fruit production sector.


641 prisoners were freed after last year's mass amnesty dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the republic and Yerevan's 2800th birthday.

80 of them have committed 165 crimes after being released.


Measles epidemic in Georgia has affected 2,000 people so far this year. The acceptable number is 10 per year. 140k people have received vaccines, half of the necessary number to contain the epidemic.


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bzvdlt/anticorruption_news_jun122019_13_million_more/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports








2019 Daily Armenia Reports