2019 May 14
Anti-Corruption & News - May/14/2019: Second day of Kocharyan trial; crowd grows... BHK leader's investigation concludes.... A judge charged & arrested over bribe....... 10 felony charges against several school directors....... Foreign meetings....... Sheep in Black Sea.... other 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.
Earlier, the Special Investigations Service received a report about a judge in Kotayk allegedly receiving a bribe to make a favorable ruling. SIS says their investigation has confirmed that the judge took 1.7mln bribe from a citizen to make a ruling that would cancel the latter's 3.6mln debt.
The judge is arrested, the briber giver is out on bail.
Few weeks ago, a non-Parliamentary political party asked the authorities to strip opposition BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan of MP status, for allegedly violating laws regarding mixing political activities with business entrepreneurship (cement tariff case).
The Special Investigations Service has finished the examination based on the complaint, and concluded there is not enough evidence of a crime by Tsarukyan.
Lori prosecutors have filed 2 felony abuse of power and embezzlement charged in two schools.
One director is accused of stealing 11.3mln in state funds since 2013 by registering several employees as workers, who never went to work but received salaries. The second director is accused of stealing 6.8mln in a similar fashion, since 2015.
In other cases, there are 8 bribery and abuse of power charges involving 58.5mln in other Lori schools.
Yesterday, anti-Kocharyan protester Vardges Gaspari was assaulted by pro-Kocharyan supporters in a court building. A criminal case has been launched. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161323
2nd day of Kocharyan detention trial. The court must rule whether he should remain locked up or let go for now. This time, there are anti-Kocharyan protesters present as well. Families of Robert Kocharyan and March 1st victims are also present. Large police presence. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161291 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161303 --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOxM7j6AOrE
Protester Vardges Gaspari is also present. Says the police found the phone that was allegedly stolen from him by unknown people during yesterday's confrontation with Kocharyan supporters. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161311
Anti-Kocharyan protestors accuse the Kocharyan supporter crowd of being paid to show up. One witness says he saw how a a person came in the morning, read names, and Rob supporters went and collected their passports/ID cards from the man. He suspects money was being distributed earlier. (It's a known vote buying tactic that was used in past elections. Passport is kept by the bribe giver until he can verify the bribe taker shows up and votes.)
The person who collected the passports later came forward and said he did in fact have 17 passports. The man got defensive when asked why, then said it was done for crowd organizational purposes and that money wasn't the purpose.
Kocharyan's lawyer tried to convince the judge that the court is under a pressure and the judge cannot hear the case. The judge disagreed, and said he knows how he feels better than the lawyer does. Said there was no pressure (presumably from the government) on the court regarding the case. https://factor.am/150391.html
The judge has refused to recuse himself. He'll have to hear both sides and decide whether Kocharyan should remain detained. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161286
Prosecutor is arguing that Kocharyan should remain locked up because the investigation over the bribery case is still ongoing, and he can meet people and meddle with it if let go. As for the March 1st case, prosecutor presented arguments relating testimonies of witnesses. He also says Kocharyan's activities and wealth located overseas, coupled with his travel record, raise the suspicion that he could escape and hide, if he is released now. The judge asked the prosecutor if there has been more evidence uncovered since the last trial that could indicate that Kocharyan is a high-risk of escaping; prosecutor said all the documents are submitted. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161315
Kocharyan accused the prosecution of withholding a letter showing that on 2008, the NSS chief told the police chief that they had information that the March 1st [early morning, sleeping in tent] protestors had weapons. This was the reason for the raids, according to Kocharyan team. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161367
(Reminder: It was later revealed that the information about guns was made up, and the European Court for Human Rights recently ruled that the protests were peaceful and their Constitutional rights were violated when the police violently dispersed them. The raid was also illegal because it was done before 6AM.)
Current and former Artsakh presidents have asked the court to release Kocharyan citing his contributions to Artsakh and the army, giving it assurances that Kocharyan won't escape or meddle with the investigation while in freedom.
The judge remotely told both Artsakh presidents that this can't be done via a letter, and that they should appear in court, where the judge will read them their rights and responsibilities as guaranteurs. Kocharyan team and Artsakh presidents are now discussing a date and time when the presidents will appear in court. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161320
The trial will continue tomorrow.
Other related: http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161304
Eastern Partnership Summit took place in Brussels between EU and several other countries, including Armenia and Azerbaijan. High ranking EU officials were present.
Pashinyan and Aliyev had a brief conversation. Nothing new. No specific plans for a new meeting. Pashinyan says the biggest obstacle right now is Azerbaijan's refusal to have a dialogue with Artsakh. https://www.azatutyun.am/a/29938348.html
In the end, Azerbaijan refused to sign the Eastern Partnership memorandum, saying the wording of the document didn't talk about the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161355
Pashinyan then flew to China where he met chairman Xi Jinping during the "Conference on Asian Civilizations Dialogue". Xi said nice things about Armenian culture and history, condemned the "tragedies" that Armenians have suffered in past, and said that China will help invest in Armenia's development (e.g. North-South highway project, transport, agriculture, brandy export, etc).
Pashinyan also said nice things about China, thanked Xi for inviting Armenian delegation to Silk Road summit (during which Chinese companies agreed to creating a new factory in Armenia, and improve the nature).
Transport Minister met a Chinese colleague. They spoke about the possibly to include the Armenian North-South highway as part of the Silk Road path that connects Persian Bay to Black Sea. Minister said that in a particularly tough portion of the highway they could use the building expertise of an experienced Chinese firm China Railway Group, which built 15% of all high speed rails in China.
Fly to EU and pretend you're a European. 2) Fly to China and pretend you're an Asian. 3) Profit 🎩
$391mln private/business money was transferred to Armenian bank accounts from abroad, in 2019Q1. That's up 9% over 2018Q1.
$287mln left the country in a similar fashion, which is up 5%.
Net positive of $104mln inflow, which is up 23% compared to the same period of 2018.
Money coming from Russia (around half of all money) has decreased by 3%, while transfers from non-big countries (US, Germany etc) rose by 59%. Other numbers inside...
One of the promises Arthur Vanetsyan made during Hay Football Federation president's election, was to build new soccer fields in provinces. The HFF says in a few days the first phase will begin. They'll launch the construction in 26 different cities and villages, bringing the total number of soccer fields in the country to 500 by 2020.
HHK Ashotyan met QP speaker Mirzoyan regarding a foreign policy discussion. Says the internal disagreements don't prevent them from cooperating to solve external issues. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/974716.html
The Market Surveillance Inspection Body has not received any consumer complaints about gas stations scamming consumers, ever since the law that required stations to sell gas by weight instead of volume was passed. Some dishonest stations used to warm up the gas to decrease its density before selling it.
QP MP says they will soon finish finalizing a proposal that will allow Armenia, despite being landlocked, to have its own cargo fleet in the Black Sea. A UN protocol allows landlocked countries to have their own ports and ships flying their country flags. The MP says this could boost trade, especially with EAEU. There is too much reliance on (often overcrowded or blocked) Lars roadway that connects Arm-Geo-Rus, says MP. The bill is at early stages.
As a reminder, sheepyard in Azerbaijan already produces sheep.
One of the government buildings was evacuated because a prison inmate made a fake bomb call threat by using an illegally smuggled cell phone. The NSS found multiple phones and WiFi in his cell. They will press charges against the man. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161364 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161327
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/boo9sd/anticorruption_news_may142019_second_day_of/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|