2019 June 25

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News - Jun/25/2019: Wages up; economic stats.... Court sends Kocharyan back to prison; declares the case isn't over; verdict explained.... Manvel Grigoryan assets..... Tax reform bill..... Parliament.... PACE; Artsakh Republic; Russia.... UN asks Turkey.... TUMO.... Parks
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.


Kocharyan verdict is in. The appeals court has approved the challenge brought by the prosecuting side, and decided to send Kocharyan back to jail. The prosecutors have asked the police to detain him immediately.

Kocharyan was released in May 18th after the Cassations Court judge found that he had a presidential immunity and could not be held in jail, and because personal guarantees were given by two Artsakh presidents that Kocharyan would behave properly if let go.

The prosecuting side argued that the guarantee-givers aren't trustworthy enough because one of them himself is involved in the March 1st case in some capacity, that the crimes Kocharyan is charged with do not qualify for immunity, that releasing him will allow him to interfere with the trial, that on May 18th the Cassations Court violated the law by not exercising its decision-making rights (regarding interpreting Constitutionality of a law) and instead prematurely sent the case to the Constitutional Court.

Today, judge Armen Danielyan approved these challenges, annulled the personal guarantees given by Artsakh presidents, and sent Kocharyan back to jail. But most significantly, he declared that the case isn't closed and the paperwork should be sent from the Constitutional Court back to Cassations Court for a new trial.

Kocharyan and his lawyers weren't present at the session, as a sign of complaint that the court "violated the fair trial laws by not hearing their side of the argument". The court had earlier warned the Kocharyan lawyers not to interrupt the session, "unnecessarily delay" the procedures, make threats. Prosecutors complained that Kocharyan's team was deliberately creating a show to delay the case.

Kocharyan has 15 days to challenge this verdict. If he challenges and loses, his case will be returned back to the Cassations Court for a new hearing, like the one that was held in May 18th.

Bako will get his bail money refunded.

https://youtu.be/bsoVi0LA_10?t=39 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164715 -- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164703 -- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979775.html -- https://factor.am/162927.html -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE0uO-krZZk

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The victim's lawyer (prosecuting side) wants the May 18th judge David Grigoryan to recuse himself and not to hear the case in the Cassations Court the second time. She says Grigoryan's May 18th verdict was "obviously illegal".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ3dfYKqMI4

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A group of Kocharyan supporters gathered outside of the NSS detention center in support. https://youtu.be/P-fyRNj6pAI?t=473

Kocharyan arrived. Said it was an unlawful verdict. Said he has a lot to talk about. His son said they hope this "absurdity will end one day." https://youtu.be/P-fyRNj6pAI?t=3103

Anti-Kocharyan crowd was present near the court. They cheered the verdict. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3a9AxB60FU

Pashinyan's spokesman Vladimir Karapetyan took a swipe at Robert Kocharyan after the latter gave an interview to 5th Channel few days ago.

He criticized Kocharyan for considering to give Armenia's Meghri region to Azerbaijan in exchange for Karabakh's partial status, during his presidency.

Says that making a contribution to Karabakh independence doesn't give anyone the right to shoot at his own people, or embezzle. Asked Kocharyan to explain how $18 million was transferred to his son's bank account while he was a public official.

Said neither of Kocharyan's sons served in Artsakh front-lines, while Pashinyan's only son is there.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979746.html --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2FT-r9yb3w

5th channel interview

Interviewer - 1:03: Have you ever called judges to pressure them during your presidency?

Rob - 1:08: eyes UP, Never! I've never called any judge.

Interviewer - 1:18: Not even through your staff members?

Rob - 1:21: eyes DOWN, Never!

👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌 💋

https://youtu.be/N2FT-r9yb3w?t=60

The court has ruled that Manvel Grigoryan's pension fund should be unfrozen so he can use the money. The prosecutors had no complaints.

Another court session will take place to decide if some land assets can be unfrozen so the government can begin the process of moving them under the state possession.

One of the things Grigoryan was charged with was illegal property appropriations. He agreed to "donate" (return) 330 hectares to the state.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164709

Several BHK MPs granted personal guarantees to free the former Lori chief investigator Tatul Shushanyan, who was earlier arrested for allegedly taking a bribe during an investigation of a politically motivated murder during 2016. The court has approved the petition. The suspect is released for now.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/105029 --- https://hetq.am/hy/article/79700 -- https://hetq.am/hy/article/68217

For January-May period of 2019 vs 2018:

Services industry grew 16%. Trade grew 9%. Industrial production grew 6%. Construction grew 6%. Electricity production down 7%. Foreign trade down 3%.

Nominal wages up 3.6% in private sector, and up 6.4% in public sector, while the consumer price index rose by 1.9%. (does this mean paychecks grew twice faster than the prices of the products on the shelves?)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/164716 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164724

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Just the May-2019 vs May-2018

The economic activity index rose by 7.3%. The industrial production rose 10%, construction up 2%, trade turnover up 5%, services industry up 15%, Consumer price index up 2.8%

Exports up 12%, imports down 11%. Electricity production up 1%.

FIP has found a "mistake" made by HHK Edward Shawarmazanov during a press conference. He claimed that the number of workers have reduced in Armenia. Records show it grew 6%.

https://fip.am/7331

The Parliament has voted in favor of the tax reform bill which will remove the progressive taxation brackets and establish a 20% flat tax, and will raise annual fees for pawnshops and money exchanges, and to bring other changes. 73 AYE - 32 NAY. QP voted in favor and says it'll help the exports industry as well. The opposition parties voted against.

LHK wanted some taxes to be removed to make investing more appealing, bringing Georgia's example. They are also against raising excise taxes by 3% on some products such as fuel. (QP needed this to compensate revenue loss). LHK made about a dozen proposals and 3 were partially accepted.

BHK voted against because they disagreed with the flat tax.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164697 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979688.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979687.html

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Socialist activists from ARF were again protesting outside of the Parliament building. They said the flat tax was against social justice, and the 4-year 3% rise of excise taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, fuel will harm the poor. (could it convince them to smoke less?)

https://youtu.be/VIuCeKEC9T8?t=4

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QP MP Gevorg Papoyan disagrees that the existing progressive taxation of paychecks provided social justice.

He says justice will happen when the wealth and property are taxed, and not the work paycheck. "People don't get rich with their paychecks. Paycheck is just a means of having a decent life". (QP earlier said the reforms envision taxation of "wealth" but I don't have much details)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979686.html

Parliament speaker QP MP Ararat Mirzoyan has proposed a bill to take away some powers from the Prime Minister. Rank-and-file employees in various public oversight and protection agencies could be nominated by the Ministers or the Parliament, instead of the PM, if passed. The opposition has long complained that they don't have enough powers. They were hoping to appoint high ranking officials serving under PM's office, but Pashinyan criticized the idea, comparing it to the idea of nominating opposition figure as his aide.

The Parliament approved the initial version of the draft bill by 84-34 vote.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979711.html -- https://hetq.am/hy/article/105006

The Parliament unanimously approved a draft QP bill that, if passed, will make some tax related information non-secret and publicly available, such as the number of workers in a company.

It'll also end the (relatively new) requirement of printing sales receipts in school cafeterias. Apparently nobody has time to reload cash registers with paper when a swarm of hungry bees attacks during a 10-minute break.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979707.html

PACE voted 118-62 to allow Russia to return as a member. Britain, Ukraine and Georgia protested. An Armenian delegate accidentally voted against the resolution. Says it was a technical malfunction and asked it to be corrected, but the PACE president said it's "too late". Two other Armenian delegates voted in favor.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164680 -- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164707 -- https://youtu.be/gSTdLXFIL88?t=130

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Delegate Naira Zohrabyan raised the topic of respecting Artsakh people's rights for self-determination, saying that they live in Europe yet don't have many rights at the moment.

She reminded about a UNESCO law which gives all people the right to participate in education related subjects, yet Artsakh currently cannot do it, and their university diplomas aren't accepted in Europe.

She said the political status of the country should not affect the people's ability to have health and education.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979756.html

Earlier the United Nations sent a request to Turkey to answer several questions regarding the Armenian Genocide.

   What steps has Turkey taken to identify and find the victims of executions, imprisonments, violent relocations?
   What has been done to make sure the victims and the Turkish public knows the truth about these events, as well as to compensate the victims?
   Has Turkey tried to locate the bodies of the victims?
   Explain why Turkey adopted a law in 2017 which limited what politicians could say (presumably about Genocide), and whether the bill isn't against a UN free speech code.
   Give stats about Turks who were prosecuted based on a law that prohibits insulting the state (this is commonly used to persecute those who mention Armenian Genocide).

Turkey was given 2 months to respond, but they refused. Media outlet Ermenihaber sent a followup question to UN.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164693

Masis city has a new "Frankofonie" park and a sports center with playing fields for various types of sports. It was built by Ֆրանսահայ Adibekyan Family charity and Masis Development Fund.

https://youtu.be/aHj3j3P29hg?t=34

-- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979741.html -- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164689

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Another TUMO education center will be built, this one in Masis. It'll be near the North-South highway and will solve a transportation problem that provincial kids face while having to travel to Yerevan's TUMO.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979723.html

Yerevan will have 3 new parks in Saralanj, Nubarashen and Silikyan. Total of 25 hectares. Works have begun. Trees should be build this Autumn.

This Spring they planted 10k trees in the city, 1k evergreen trees, 3k bushes. Dead trees were removed. 7.5 hectares of new lands will receive irrigation this year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979637.html

President Sarkissian participated in SYARMUS science and tech festival in Switzerland. He met Kaspersky antivirus chief Kaspersky, and agreed to talk about possible expansion of company's work in Armenia, and a new joint project in the tech/engineering "city" that is being built in Yerevan at the moment.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979772.html

While everyone was working hard, Pashinyan & his family were relaxing twice as hard in Lastivner nature park. Vlog by his daughter: https://youtu.be/USGk8YNQjjM


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c5ed9r/anticorruption_news_jun252019_wages_up_economic/

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