2019 March 7

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption Mar/7/2019: -- Former deputy Health Minister arrested --- Businessman exposes former regime's anti-business practices --- ECHR rules against the previous regimes on 2 more cases --- A mayor charged with theft --- Sevan rising --- Italian MP condemns Sumgayit massacres --- much more
by ar_david_hh

All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.

The police has arrested the former deputy Health Minister for abuse of power.

The investigators were auditing The Center for Tuberculosis Control. The audit begun earlier and other officials of the institute were also charged for abuse between 2014-2018.


Suren Balayan, the owner of Super Group business, has come forward with his business story accusing Serj's and Kocharyan's regimes of abuse of power and anti-competitive business practices.

He operated "Jermuk" mineral waters factory in Jermuk town since 1996. On 1998, he registered "Jermuk" as a trademark for his mineral water.

One year later, a HHK MP Ashot Arsenyan registered the same word as his trademark, for his own mineral water company. That is when Balayan's business problems begun, with the regime causing obstacles and issuing [now determined to be illegal] fines to his business.

On 2008, Balayan went to complain to Minister of Economy but the latter said the government decided the other [HHK owned] business should have the brand name, after an "internal decision".

Balayan then met PM Tigran Sargsyan and complained that he spent $1.5mln on creating millions of bottles that have the word Jermuk on them, and now he can't use those anymore. Sargsyan told him he doesn't care, says Balayan.

On 2010, the government made changes to the trademark law and HHK MP's grip on "Jermuk" trademark became even stronger. No business was allowed to have that work on their labels. 18 businesses providing Jermuk minerals had to shut down, leaving 624 people unemployed, some of whom left the county, says Balayan.

Balayan then took a new $2mln loan to restart his business on 2015. On 2016, the police paid his factory a visit and only took photos, without interviewing anyone. The media begun writing that the police busted an illegal mineral water factory in Jermuk. He was given a 55mln fine.

After the 2018 Velvet Revolution, the new authorities reviewed the penalty and canceled it.

On 2016 Balayan acquired one of the mineral springs in Jermuk to use it to fill his bottles. The administration refused to give him the final permit, leaving his calls unanswered for a year. After the 2018 revolution, Balayan sent a letter to Pashinyan, and the same day he instructed a public hearing to discuss whether Balayan should have the right to use the new mineral spring. The government ended up giving him a 50 year lease to operate it.

Balayan is asking for the new Parliament to reverse the strict trademark regulations so others can use the word Jermuk again. He says $40mln damage was done to his business by the previous regimes.


European Court for Human Rights has made another ruling against the Armenian government/courts. Activist Vardges Gaspari (the bearded guy who always lays on the group to protest) has won a $4,000 settlement.

March 1st, 2008 : Gaspari gets arrested under the suspicion of assaulting a police officer.

March 5: Lower Court rules he should be detained for 2 months while the trial is prepared. He challenges the detention it in Higher Court.

March 11: Higher Court keeps him in jail, saying that Vardges Gaspari presented himself as Vardges Gasparyan after being arrested, which the judge referred to as false identification. The judge used the slight variation of his stage name as a pretense to claim Gaspari would attempt to change his identity and hide if he is set free.

For the next half a year, courts delayed his further hearings for various reasons and excuses. (he can appeal every 2 months)

September 29: The judge refuses to allow Gaspari's lawyer to submit a petition to hear his case again to see if he qualifies for release. Gaspari asks the judge to recuse himself. The judge denies it, and applies administrative penalties against Gaspari and delays the hearing until October.

October 22: Gaspari offers bail to be released. The court doesn't make a verdict. It's delayed.

November 10: His assault charges trial happens. He is found guilty and sentenced to 1 year.

2009 February 27: Higher Court takes into account the newest changes to law, and counts the months that Gaspari spent waiting for delayed court hearings, towards his sentence. He is released from jail.

ECHR ruled that while in prison, on 4 occasions Gaspari was kept in a cell and not allowed external access. It also ruled that the Armenian courts violated protocols while hearing his appeals, and there was not enough evidence that Gaspari would/cloud flee if he spent the pre-trial time waiting in freedom.


ECHR has made another ruling against the Armenian government for violations regarding the March 1st 2008 case. $20,600 will be given to Mushegh Saghatelyan.

After March 1st events, two police officers complained about being assaulted. Medical examination showed signs of light damage to one officer.

The plaintiff was arrested as one of the participants of the protests, and accused of assault. Police officers said he had a knife on him, but he denied having one. He claims mistreatment by the police while under detention, which is why he says he didn't give an interview. The investigators pressed charges against him.

Next day the doctors found signs of physical abuse on plaintiff.

Things unfolded very rapidly afterwards. Detained on March 1st night, by March 3rd he was charged, March 4th the court detained him for 2 months, March 5 he is transferred to detention facility where he says doctors purposely ignored some of his wounds he sustained from the police abuse. The following court hearings were also rapid and did not properly address the plaintiff's complaints, ruled ECHR.


Serj administration members stole lands near the Meghri free trade economic zone, as we learned earlier. Some officials were pressed to sell lands for pennies.

Pashinyan says they are in the process of returning the stolen lands to the state. More updates in 3 months.


Your daily Fake News news:

RoboSerj media outlet 5th Channel spread multiple instances of misinformation today, reports FIP.

   The government did not delay the payments of pensions. It is paid on the 3rd working day of each month, which was March 5th for this month.
   The police denies telling the Roboserj blogger that 12,000 people participated in the recent March 1st memorial march.
   The reports of Pashinyan operating a social media troll farm was proven to be false, but presented as real by the blogger.
   The layoffs due to ministry restructuring haven't begun yet.
   The blogger spread an unfounded conspiracy theory alleging that the church's donation to children with cancer through First Lady's charity foundation had something to do with the protests against church leader subsiding down. What the blogger doesn't tell you is the donation actually came from a US-based priest and the money came from a donation from a fundraising event in US. What he also doesn't tell you is that the protests against Garegin B continued long after the said donation.

The 5th channel is the same network that spread a misleading film about March 1st events. It is owned by Kocharyan's close ally Armen Tavadyan.


NSS has busted Hnaberd mayor with felony embezzlement and felony abuse of power.

On 2011, his community received 73mln in agricultural aid. He allegedly instructed others to falsify municipality session hearing documents, and give his family-owned farm a 8mln grant.


After months of deliberations, the government has officially approved the plan to optimize the Ministries and reduce them from 17 to 12. The proposal has been sent to Parliament for a vote.


The government has approved a QP MP's proposal to ban the advertisement of services that provide pre-made school work, essays, etc to lazy students. The advertisers will be fined by 100x of minimum wage, if the law is passed. In future, they might make providing such services illegal altogether.


The government will subsidy loans for farmers. Interest rate will be 5% for private, 3% for communal farms, 0% for those living near borders.


Pashinyan says they are working on a tax waiver plan to allow people sell their self-made alcohols (which is very popular in provinces), in exchange for tight rules to improve the quality and remove the dangerous spirits from the market.


The government has issued a tax waiver to two textile factories to make investments.

201mln investments, 310 new jobs, 13bln production most of which will be exported.


To prevent drivers from smoking or using cell phone, to improve the overall service, to combat pit-pocketing, the Yerevan municipality installed security cameras inside some buses. 250 bus drivers refused to work today, announcing their displeasure with the cameras. (some of them have returned to work)

Municipality said the drivers earlier agreed, but later decided to walk out of job after an organized protest. Some drivers are "shy" about the cameras. The municipality will proceed with the camera installations.

Another pilot program includes an introduction of payment boxes which will hold the change. Presumably it's done to reduce the "losses".


--- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156146 - - - https://armenpress.am/arm/news/966767.html

Lake Sevan levels have begun to rise. It could reverse again throughout the year, depending how much extra water is drained for agriculture.


Average rent in Yerevan by the number of bedrooms: one $218, two $283, three $334, four $387. Center is significantly more expensive. 2-3x higher for 3-4 bdr.


Japan has issued grants worth 62mln for 3 projects in Gyumri. It will help to improve the facilities that provide various types of care and employment opportunities for locals.


Azatan, Shirak has its own 100,000 kW/h solar power plant now, funded by Japan and Eurasia Organization.


Syria crew update:

Armenian sappers have so far cleared 10,510 square/meter area from hundreds of land mines and un-exploded bombs from air raids. The doctors have operated 50 patients, therapy for 100, lab work for 160. One sapper received an injury during the work, and needed an operation.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156197 --- https://razm.info/132776

During a session, Italian MP Julio Centemero condemned the massacres of Armenians in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan.

He spoke about how Azeri authorities organized repressions against Armenians as a retaliation for Artsakh's referendum vote. The government then closed the eye on 3 days of massacres in Sumgayit.

He also referred to Artsakh issue as not a territorial one, but a survival issue for the inhabitants. The MP condemned Azerbaijan's continuing Armenophobia and ceasefire violations.



Grazie Juilo Apple!

Azerbaijani Parliament speaker's family was busted with operating a cocaine ring in a Moscow night club owned by them. Aliyev is doing a damage control, says Azeri Azadliq media.


(Where is the "British" Narco-Karabakh tourist when we need him most 😞)

Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ayj0eu/anticorruption_mar72019_former_deputy_health/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports














2019 Daily Armenia Reports