2019 June 17

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News - June/17/2019: Former Prime Ministers' aide & illegal mining... NSS goes artsy.... Foreign Ministry wants to know.... BHK drama.... Yerevan city.... Some stats.... Fees for pawn shops and money exchanges revised... WiFi for cows? No, but... Sports news... Boom... more 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.

Recently, the environmentalists contacted the authorities with a complaint that the gold mining company on Meghrasar had intruded on the nearby protected lands and forests.

The investigation found that in 2014, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources gave a 7.5 year lease for a company to dig in a specific area. The problem is, some of that area was and is part of the Arevik National Park.

In 2017, the mining company, without an authorization, begun exploring the land, thus causing damage to the surrounding nature.

The investigation also revealed that some Arevik Park employees knew about this alleged illegal mining but refused to act on it.

Two felony cases are launched against the mining company and the Arevik Park employees.

It turns out, half of the mining company's shares belong to a man named Hamlet Hovsepyan, who was the aide to former HHK Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyam and Karen Katapetyan. He received the permission in 2014, when his boss Hovik Abrahamyan was the Prime Minister.

10,000 tons of rocks with some traces of gold (worth 493mln) were extracted from the area during the period that was investigated.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/104732 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164051


Update: Former HHK MP and Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan was recently charged with 4.2bln bribery (offshore laundering via Arab country) in the illegal mining licensing story.

Two people have now been charged as well for aiding him. Their cases are sent to the prosecutors so they can launch a court hearing.


10 paintings were stolen from the National Gallery between 1951-1992. An investigation was launched in 2012 but the perpetrators weren't found.

The NSS says they just found 2 people who were trying to sell some of the stolen paintings, and the items were recovered immediately after the sales transaction.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164072 -- S4nukXO_d.jpg

PM Pashinyan took a swipe at the former regime's allies who operate bot accounts on social media to manipulate the public opinion (it was documented how one of his videos received large number of dislikes under suspicious circumstances, in a short period). Pashinyan joked that his political team created jobs for these fake account operators, and that sooner or later the former regime will spend all of their resources on maintaining these accounts, thus becoming broke and homeless. Full speech inside...


Armenian Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to (indirectly or directly) ask him not to meddle with Armenia's internal political affairs, after the ambassador held a closed-door meeting with Robert Kocharyan last week.

Parliament speaker QP Ararat Mirzoyan earlier said he didn't welcome the move meeting. The Russian ambassador described the meeting as a standard meeting he does with other political and civil society individuals.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/164079 -- http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/270034

Update: The Investigative committee has again invited BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan to ask him some questions as part of the investigation of the arson attack on QP politician's staffer's properties in Abovyan city, the day before the mayoral election. Tsarukyan has earlier rejected the first invitation.


Update: High profile BHK MP Tigran Urikhanyan resigned on weekend. Apparently it was due to an internal conflict with other BHK MP(s). He made a social media post accusing certain individuals within the party of digging a hole under others, buttlicking, anonymous hit pieces against him on media. He said the reason BHK "keeps failing" is because it's losing honest people (probably referring to himself). He urged these individuals not to launch a "war", otherwise even the party leader Tsarukyan "can't help them".

He also denied the rumor published by Jamanak paper, which stated that their anonymous sources believe that Urikhanyan was fired by Tsarukyan after the latter found out that Urikhanyan was colluding with Robert Kocharyan to provide him political support. Urikhanyan also denied that his relations with Gagik Tsarukyan are bad.

https://news.am/arm/news/518641.html --- https://news.am/arm/news/518518.html

Yerevan municipality is going through structural changes. Some departments will be merged, others separated. The mayor wants the number of workers to go from 2,030 to 2,132.

The opposition is against hiring more employees, and wants to cut the workforce instead.

The mayor says some workers are forced to do 4 times the amount of work than before, thus more workers are necessary to get the job done. One example is construction and authorization agencies which no longer receives illegal phone calls "from above", but instead examine each construction plan to see if it can proceed.


Illegal structure owners are removing their buildings from the sidewalk near Komitas bazaar. Although they did receive permits to build and operate the budkas for the period of 5 years, the permit itself was illegal, says municipality. Upon the recent expiration of the lease, the municipality refused to extend them. There are about 11 such budkas that created a 25 meter barrier between the street and the sidewalk.

The municipality urged the structure owners to do the business legally inside the nearby Komitas bazaar, with the rent being free for the first few months. The freed areas will turn green.


--- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/164102 -- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164039


The municipality is removing illegal large banner ads hanging from the bridges and other areas. https://hetq.am/hy/article/104757

1Q19 vs 1Q18 (January- April period) trade with EU is down 17%, and up by 6% with EAEU.

Up: Kyrgyz 69% (wholesome), Austria 34%, France 33%, Holland 25%, Belarus 20%, Italy 19%, UK 15%, Russia 6%.

Down: Greece 73%, Romania 75%, UAE 40%, Bulgaria 35%, Sweden 34%, Germany 32%, Kazakhstan 28%, US 21% ,Cyprus 20%,


The World Bank's independent pollster conducted a survey among Armenian businesses to see what they think about IRS's work.

Survey shows that the satisfaction went up in 2018. 73% of businesses said the work done by IRS employees has improved compared to 2016.

Due to the automation of some things, businesses spend less time and money, and don't have to deal with IRS for some issues.

77% said they want to cooperate with IRS to learn about possible risks around their business. 76% liked some of the recent tax enforcement reforms.

98% like the electronic filings. 85% want IRS to provide mobile-friendly services.


QP has been thinking about raising administrative fees for pawn shops and money exchange locations because the fees have been left unchanged for too long and they are "too low". The latest proposal will ease the burden on smaller locations, and raise the fees for large banks.

The initial proposal was to raise the annual fee for pawnshops from 100k to 6mln. The New proposal is 1.5mln initially, then gradually raise to 2mln.

They'll raise the annual fee for money exchanges from 50k to 500k, then gradually to 1mln. The initial proposal was raising it to 3mln.

Larger bank fees will go from 3mln to 8mln. Initial proposal was 7mln.

The numbers could change during future discussions.


What the heck is a "smart cattle house"? Here it is. It's a polyethylene structure with only 2 walls. Perseveres temperature when needed. Cow shit mixes with the ground and reduces the frequency of floor cleaning , has remotely controllable temperature mechanism, cameras, fans and sprinkles that disperse the animal body heat energy to improve the milk production by 30%. 30 more farmers can build one such building soon with the help of an agricultural initiative.


Norway Chess competition is over. Magnus Carlsen is the champion, while Aronyan and a Chinese player shared the 2nd and 3rd positions. http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/269973/

Boxer Artem Dalaqyan (Ukraine) has defended his WBA champion's title for the 3rd time. 18 wins, 13 KOs, 0 losses.


--- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/163999

Mayor Marutyan spotted one of the sterilized good boys on street https://youtu.be/qsafyQxCsH4?t=1

Artsakh is preparing to host the 7th Armenian Olympics beginning August 6th. 4,000 athletes from 190 countries to arrive.

3 symbolic torches will be lit. One was lit few days ago in Western Armenia's Mush city, the second one was lit today in Khor Virap by Olympic champion Arthur Alexanyan, and the 3rd one will soon be lit in Tigranocerta, Artsakh.

Video https://youtu.be/O_No_D7kNFs?t=2

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164052 https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164045

In an act of kind gesture, Azeri army bombed its own city but didn't blame Armenians for it.

During last week's military trainings, the Azeri army shot a 125mm mortar which fell on the city of Ganja (Gandzak). The prosecutors are trying to pin the blame on the shooter instead of the coordinator, reports the Azadliq (Azatutyun) journalist in exile.

Photos https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164068

10,000 Armenian soldiers, 150 armored vehicles, 400 transport cars, 200 mortars, 50 missile units are participating in a night-time military exercises in Artsakh. New weapons will be tested, some of which use surveillance tech.


Henrikh Mkhitaryan has married. His grandmother will no longer bug him about getting married during family gatherings.

Photos www.aysor.am/am/news/2019/06/17/Մխիթարյան-հարսանիք/1576638 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/164100

Edit: Typos, and made Mirzoyan's sentence more clear.

Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c1s1c2/anticorruption_news_june172019_former_prime/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports








2019 Daily Armenia Reports