2019 May 7
Anti-Corruption May/7/2019: NSS uncovered Azeri spy operation.... Former Yerevan district manager charged.... Another mayor & school director busted... 8.4bln in damages uncovered in hydro sale.... Constitutional vs Cassations court.... 32mln Euro grant by EU.... Yerevan workers could see 30% raise
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.
The NSS has uncovered a spying operation conducted by Azerbaijan.
An Azeri agent working in Turkey pretended to be a secret Armenian spy working in Turkey, contacted an Armenian citizen and convinced him that he needs military structure details. The citizen sent the details to him between 2011-2018. It is not clear whether NSS agents were also caught spying, or they were coaching the Armenian citizen to send false information. You decide based on the text...
[Azeri spy] համոզել է [Armenian citizen] տրամադրել ՀՀ տարբեր զորամասերի տվյալներ, ինչից հետո ԱԱԾ աշխատակիցների վերահսկողության ներքո, [Armenian] քաղաքացու միջոցով, 2011-2018թթ. ընթացքում հավաքել է ՀՀ ԱԱԾ աշխատակիցների կողմից արդեն իսկ մշակված և ՀՀ քաղաքացու միջոցով տրամադրված տեղեկությունները, որոնք հանձնել է Ադրբեջանի Հանրապետությանը
The former leader of Davtashen, Yerevan district is accused of corruption embezzlement. The NSS and the police say between 2009-2018, he hired relatives as employees who never went to work but received 41.7mln in salaries.
The district chief in 2009 was Arthur Gevorgyan, who later became a HHK MP. When he became an MP, his old position was taken by his relative Ruslan Baghdasaryan. Both of them are the nephews of businessman and former BHK MP Tsaghik Rubo.
Former mayor of Haytagh is charged with 3 felony counts of embezzlement and forgery. He is accused of stealing 2.9mln agricultural products meant for low income farmers, then presenting falsified documents showing that residents received the aid.
Prosecutors' office audited the 2001 sale (and subsequent transactions) of DzoraHEK hydro-electro plant and found that 8.4bln in damages were done to the state due to malicious actions of officials working at various institutions, including Defense Ministry. A criminal case in launched, the investigators are still gathering evidence to create the full list of defendants.
The authorities have launched a felony embezzlement investigation and charged the director of Vanadzor N18 school director with stealing 20mln taxpayer money for allegedly registering his friends as employees who never went to work but received money.
Lower > Higher > Cassations > Constitutional
Kocharyan was initially detained, released, then detained again after multiple court decisions and appeals.
One of the courts ruled that Kocharyan, being a former president, has an immunity and can't be detained. Cassations Court struck down that decision. The Constitutional Court has just ruled that the Cassations Court must re-examine Kocharyan's detention case again, because the reason behind Cassation's striking of High court's verdict without a full examination was invalid and there needs to be a full examination. The case is back to Cassations court.
Artsakh Republics' 2 presidents wrote a letter to General Prosecutors of Armenia offering guarantees that Kocharyan won't run away if his detention is lifted for the remainder of the legal process. They want Kocharyan to visit Artsakh for the upcoming May 9th victory celebrations. (May 9th coincides with the liberation of Shushi, Artsakh)
Prosecutor's office responded saying they are no longer the ones making the decision to keep him detained. SIS and the court are handling the case.
The court has ruled again that Serj's brother Levon Sargyan's assets should remain frozen. He is accused of illegal enrichment and hiding wealth during declarations. His children are also suspects.
The latest demographics reports show that the emigration still outpaces the natural birth. After recording no loss last year, this year the population has been reduced by 3,200 so far. The births are higher than the deaths, however. Yerevan population increased by 4,200.
Armenia's foreign debt has been reduced by $58.8 (28.3bln) in the past 2 months. It is currently $5.48bln.
Earlier we learned that 2020 will be a hard year for finances because it's the deadline for many of the externals loans that Armenia took years ago. In 2020, Armenia has to spend 3.9% of its GDP on paying some debts. At the end of 2019, the external debt will be increased by $490mln, predicts the Finance Ministry. Foreign debt has increased by 4x in the past decade; it was $1.9bln on 2008.
Ministry says this trend will continue for as long as there is a budget deficit, but there are no big risks. The currency is stable. They expect to collect $90mln more in taxes this year. The best way to control the debt is by accelerating the economic growth, says Ministry. Economy rose by 6.5% this year so far.
The EU will issue a 32mln Euro grant to Armenia's northern provinces to boost the economy, promote smart agriculture, small and medium businesses.
Yerevan mayor Marutyan wants to raise 1,700 municipality workers' salaries by 30%. The opposition Luys is against it. Some members of QP are also against it, saying they need better quality workers in districts and higher salaries in the private sector first, before raising the salaries. Others say the raise is necessary because the salaries are small.
QP says the opposition Luys earlier spread misinformation about QP members allegedly boycotting the vote. Says QP needed more time to decide whether the salary increases are warranted or not, so they skip the session. We'll find out more about this tomorrow.
The Atlantic Council investigators earlier published a 2-piece investigatory report exposing several Kocharyan-allied media outlets spreading anti-Pashinyan misinformation on social media. One of these outlets claimed their accounts were attacked, and they apparently blamed a specific political analyst of "directing" the attack against them. The analyst says the accusations are a defamation against him and wants a retraction by the media outlets. The analyst says his own Facebook account was attacked and he got locked out of it. He is currently trying to recover it.
Healthcare Minister is thinking about contacting the NSS and ask them to investigate the spread of fake information on social media about vaccinations, that causes a reduction in vaccinations and puts the public health in danger.
Context: Last week, fake news was spread alleging that the government is forcefully vaccinating kids without a permission. The anti-vacc topic has always existed for natural reasons, but recently is has been politicized and weaponized by anti-Pashinyan (not only pro-Roboserj) circles.
Pashinyan earlier promised to finally fix the sports center named after Olympics champion wrestler Arthur Aleksanyan, which was left neglected for years. Today the Ministry of Sports announced that they'll spend 490mln to build a brand new center, also named after Arthur Aleksanyan. The project begins on 2020. The current one may be repaired at the expense of local authorities.
What do you do when you lose elections? You hold them again until you win. That is what happened in Istanbul, Turkey. The opposition CHP member won mayoral seat during the recent elections. A recount confirmed his win. Erdogan's AKP wasn't ready to give up, so they pressured the electoral committee to organize new elections. The wining CHP party has called it a coup d'etat. Former members of Constitutional court, presidential candidates, EU and others have criticized the move.
Arménie : la Silicon Valley du Caucase 🤖
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/blv1g4/anticorruption_may72019_nss_uncovered_azeri_spy/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|