2019 June 7
Anti-Corruption & News - Jun/7/2019: City workers busted w/bribery... frmr mayor charged for theft... ECHR asks gov to move Manvel to hospital... Court verdicts on Kocharyan asset & March 1st official... Supreme chief resigns (again)... Tax reforms... Business forum... many more stories inside
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.
NSS has uncovered bribery and corruption by Abovyan city municipality workers. NSS says the officials working at the property management department had falsified documents to illegally give a land to a company in April-30-2019.
In a similar case, the officials made another illegal ruling in favor of the same unnamed company after taking a $1,500 bribe.
39mln in damages is done to budget. Five felony charges are being prepared.
Shamlugh, Lori former mayor is charged with embezzlement after hiring multiple non-existent workers (family members) beginning 2007. 14mln was stolen. He admitted the guilt and is told not the leave the country.
European Court for Human Rights has satisfied a request by Manvel Grigoryan to be moved to a civilian hospital for his health treatment. The court instructed the Armenian government to allow the transfer and to help him with the move.
Earlier, Manvel's health condition worsened after boycotting his medications. He complained that the medical care in general was insufficient in the jail medical center, and wanted to be moved to a big hospital. The court will soon hear again whether he qualities to be released on bail.
The court has authorized the arrest and detention of former regime's police official Gegham Petrosyan, who was arrested few days under the suspicion of causing a death of a protester during March 1st, 2008. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/163302
The lower court judge has ruled that the prosecutors have no right to freeze Kocharyan's assets. The restrictions will be lifted. The judge refused Kocharyan's petition to remove investigator Hrach Mushegyan from being from the case.
In 2016, the Agriculture Ministry decided to organize an auction to purchase pesticides. They picked a company which asked 15.5mln for the product, even though another company asked 12.6mln and offered a product that's significantly more potent.
The rejection was justified as the product not being suited for the type of bugs they needed to kill. Investigation shows that the product was suited for the job. An abuse of power and negligence case is launched.
Yesterday, a group of protesters once again gathered outside of Supreme Court Council building and demanded acting chief Gevorg Danielyan to resign, accusing him of being Serj's puppet.
He resigned today. Earlier, the previous chief had resigned. Gevorgyan was acting as his replacement.
Flashback: Several years ago, Gevorg Danialyan was made a scapegoat and fired from the position of the Justice Minister for not doing his duties by letting Panama Paper suspect Mihran Poghosyan get off the hook, in an orchestrated attempt by HHK to make it appear they were serious about getting to the bottom of the offshore scandal.
Parliament speaker QP Mirzoyan has nominated Grigor Beqmezyan for a Supreme Court Council member seat. Hetq media has noted that the candidate is currently a lawyer representing the March 1st suspect Yuri Khachaturov in an unrelated case. The lawyer said he could end the services for Khachaturov due to the new circumstances.
A police squad was out for a hunt after Pashinyan complained that some people who want to terrorize the streets with lawlessness.
They detained 49 people (not specifically about Roboserj activists in black) last night for carrying illegal firearms, damaging someone else's property, disturbing public peace, driving without plates, drunk driving, etc.
The Parliament was discussing the proposed flat tax bill that will remove the 3 income taxation brackets (36% highest) and establish a flat 23% (then 20%) tax. It will also raise the taxes paid by workers towards their pension by 2.5%, from 2.5% to 5%.
Opposition opposes it, while QP supports the changes. In their opinion it will help industries that export stuff, create better conditions for small and micro businesses.
Ministry of Economy says the budget will lose 41bln per year from the changes. To offset impact, they will raise excise taxes on certain products, but will not touch the VAT, because raising VAT would hit the poor too hard.
After examining other countries, the government found that excise tax is too mild in Armenia and has room for growth. They want to change the excise tax system itself to be on par with international practices. For example, double taxation through VAT and excise tax could be eliminated.
The bill will also reform the tax law to make it easier by reducing the number of taxing categories from 5 to 3 (e.x. self-employed status, family business status, e.t.c)
Some of these categories will be merged. Those who are self-employed or do family business (less than 24mln in sales) will be under one category of Micro-Business.
Currently, in some cases the foreign nationals and businesses pay more % tax than the locals. These discrepancies will be eliminated or reduced significantly.
Another change will raise fees for the gambling businesses by 20%. Profits of more types of gambling services will be taxed, including those on the internet.
Independent taxi drivers would be exempt from some administrative fees.
More details inside...
The government is looking into further changing the salary taxation. It is proposed that micro-business workers could pay a flat 5k AMD tax instead of the proposed flat 23%. They also want to make tax laws simpler for micro-businesses. Sales receipt machines will still be required.
(So if I currently earn the minimum 55k, the tax could lower from 12k to 5k?)
To reduce tax abuse and grey economy, a QP MP is working on a bill that could require companies with over 10 employees to pay salaries only with non-cash methods. Exemption are workers with disabilities, who could take cash.
He says it has two goals: to reduce the shadowy payments, and to strengthen the overall culture of paying for products through electronic means which would make it harder for businesses to hide their revenues from IRS.
Pashinyan's visit to St. Petersburg business forum continues. He gave a speech about Armenia's tech potential and urged businesses to invest. Spoke about the upcoming legal and judicial reforms; spoke about the political situation and stronger democracy.
Russian Yandex tech giant's chief met Pashinyan. They want to expand the business in Armenia to help the tourism and the small business. PM thanked them and agreed to discuss further.
Pashinyan wants to negotiate the gas prices to be set in a way that doesn't prevent the economic growth in future. Because the relations between AM and RU are of strategic nature, the gas price discussions should be treated as such, said PM.
Pashinyan met representatives of Israeli Ministry of Economy and spoke about high tech cooperation. Israeli official suggested the creation of a delegation that will meet and sign tech related agreements. Pashinyan agreed.
During press event, Pashinyan insisted again that Artsakh should have its representatives during the negotiations with Azerbaijan, as it did during the initial stages. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/163391
Azeri journalist asked about the news published by their outlets alleging that Armenian sniper shot an Azeri soldier by violating the agreed upon peace. Pashinyan says the army examined the rifles of the Armenian soldiers and concluded that they didn't open fire. He mentioned that the Azeris, on the other hand, killed an Armenian soldier days later, and it is a known fact that during that time the Azeris were organizing trainings in that area.
Azeri journalist: When will Armenians leave the occupied territories?
Pashinyan: You can't "occupy" a territory if that's where you and your ancestors have originated and lived.
AZERI JOURNALIST: HENRIKH MKITARYAN
Journalist asked why Mkhitaryan refused to visit Baku despite safety assurances. Pashinyan brought examples that the promises of safety mean little if the discrimination still continues. For example, Mkhitaryan fans were harassed by the police on multiple instances, Russian TV network couldn't visit Azerbaijan for having visited Artsakh, citizens of other countries with Armenian ethnicity were discriminated.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denies being disrespectful to Pashinyan after receiving criticism for citing one phrase from his entire speech, in a way that people thought was disrespectful. Some people interpreted her behavior as a mockery of BeardManTM 's accent and vocabulary limitations.
Zakharova: «Նիկոլ Փաշինյանը՝ պիտերյան ֆորումին. «Երբ բոլորը դժգոհ են, հարկավոր է անել այնպես, որ բոլորը գոհ լինեն»»:
Zakharova later: Ինձ խնդրել են հայտնել իմ վերաբերմունքը արտահայտության մասին. պարզության համար մեջբերում եմ միտքն ամբողջությամբ. «Երբ իրավիճակն այնպիսին է, որ բոլորը դժգոհ են, հարկավոր է անել այնպես, որ բոլորը գոհ լինեն: Դրա համար կա միայն մեկ ճանապարհ՝ այն կոչվում է գնալ փոխզիջման: Պետք է աշխատել փոխզիջման վրա: Փոխզիջման հասնելու համար հարկավոր է փոխադարձ վստահություն: Ինչպես ասել է ՑՎլադիմիր Վլադիմիրովիչը՝ հասկանալ միմյանց հետաքրքրությունները եւ հարգել դրանք»:
What Pashinyan had said: "Երբ իրավիճակն այնպիսին է, որ բոլորը դժգոհ են, պետք է անել այնպես, որ բոլորը դառնան գոհ։ Դրա համար կա միայն մեկ ճանապարհ՝ այն կոչվում է փոխըմբռնում, պետք է աշխատել փոխըմբռնման ուղղությամբ։ Դրան հասնելու համար փոխադարձ հարգանք է պետք։ Ինչպես ասաց Վլադիմիր Վլադիմիրովիչը՝ միմյանց շահերի ընդունում։ Պետք է բոլոր խոշոր խաղացողները այսպես ընկալեն իրավիճակը և պատրաստ լինեն իրենց վրա վերցնել այդպիսի փոխըմբռնումների պատասխանատվությունը, ինչը իհարկե, հեշտ բան չէ, բայց միակ ճանապարհն է, որովհետև մյուս ճանապարհները մեզ շատ մեծ խնդիրների առջև կկանգնեցնեն»"
Justice Minister Artak Zeynalyan has submitted his resignation. He thanked various organizations and the government for working with him. QP faction leader Lilith Makunts says the party was dissatisfied with the quality of his work in justice reforms and other unnamed instances.
US-Armenian relations group ANCA made a tweet saying "Make Istanbul Constantinople Again". This rattled the Turkish officials. President Erdogan's main aide responded saying you won't be able to do that, you would be beheaded before you could see it happen.
Ruling AKP party's resident uncle tom Margar Yesayan jumped in, saying "It'll forever be Istanbul", praising the sultan who conquered Constantinople for the good deeds he had done for Armenians after the invasion.
(Context: Armenian and Turks have rocky relations FYI. The relations between US and Turkey have also significantly worsened after the Syrian conflict. Turkey is seeking closer ties with Russia. US recently banned Turkish pilots from learning how to fly on US jets and fighter jet sales. There are calls within EU to implement harsher stance on Turkey. Since this March, Erdogan has been thinking about turning the Hagia Sophia cathedral into a mosque.)
Chess player Levon Aronyan lost the match to world champion Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, then defeated Azeri Shakhriyan Memedyarov. He is the 3rd so far.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bxz7sh/anticorruption_news_jun72019_city_workers_busted/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|