2020 August 18

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Aug/18/2020 News: / ex-Yerevan Mayor & ex-Minister busted. Laundering. / Voter list de-bloating / IRS wants $2.8m from Gago's casino / Magic wand prints free money for kids / Anti-Corruption: Good cop, Bad cop / Amulsar & Mining / Bordering village aid / About COVID / Tourism! / Foreign Affairs / ++
by ar_david_hh


NSS busts ex-Yerevan mayor Beglaryan / Money laundering / Property theft

NSS report says: in 2009, Yerevan mayor Beglaryan colluded with Center District officials to embezzle property.

They organized an illegal scheme to donate 4 properties worth $488k, located on "expensive" streets, to an accomplice, who then sold them to Beglaryan's family for pennies.

The properties, in reality, belonged to Beglaryan. He used others to launder and conceal the theft. A felony case is launched.

https://factor.am/277085.html

--

other criminal cases involving Beglaryan

On March/24/2020 we learned that HHK Gagik Beglaryan, a former Transport Minister and Yerevan mayor, was placed on the wanted list and an arrest warrant in-absentia was issued.

At the time, he was charged with embezzling $483k worth property at the expense of a kindergarten. The investigation began after new mayor Hayk Marutyan busted 27 instances of kindergarten embezzlement by the former regime.

--

In another instance, Beglaryan's brother - a public official in charge of Sports Teams Center - gave property to his wife under suspicious circumstances.

His house was also raided as part of a fraud investigation involving North-South highway construction.

https://factor.am/277085.html

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181189

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/foa22n/mar242020_whats_happening_in_armenia_papers/

Pashinyan's Kotayk trip / Roads and kindergartens / Magic wand / Արամուսի լավ գյազար կիլոն 2,000

Pashinyan: The first kindergarten in 40 years is being built in Aramus village.

Official: // After 2018, they began enforcing tax laws and restaurants began paying taxes. That money is what's paying for this kindergarten. (magic wand)

With population 4,000, Aramus will have a new gas network on several streets. By the end of 2020, the entire village will have gas. \\

--

Lots of lands are still left unused, however. The village is popular with carrot production. There is even a popular song dedicated to Aramus's carrot.

Locals asked Pashinyan to rebuild the road connecting to the neighboring village. "It hasn't been renovated since 1965."

--

PM visited a new greenhouse business. The CEO said they need qualified experts who could earn high salaries. "You don't have to become a lawyer or economist to make a good living. Climate engineers, agricultural and vegetation experts are a hot commodity."

"You have to learn English/Russian even if you do agriculture, though. You'll make a good living if you're a good expert in your field."

https://youtu.be/mAGN1BP5XAE

https://factor.am/277134.html

https://youtu.be/2Ad3W_IPmyw?t=83

https://factor.am/277159.html

https://factor.am/277168.html

Court finds two policemen guilty of embezzlement

On Oct-2018, two cops and their secretary in Ararat were charged with stealing $57k worth funds from their colleagues' salary bonus budget, plus some tax evasion.

Today the court made a guilty verdict.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025289.html

Policeman rejects a bribe and busts a driver's license buying attempt

The report says: a few months ago, an 18yo man failed his behind the wheel test. He scheduled the second exam but failed again, so he used his friend's help to bribe the policeman in charge of licensing.

The policeman refused the bribe and pressed 3 counts of felony bribery charges. The suspects are told not to leave the country.

https://factor.am/277219.html

Massive property corruption ring is busted / ex-Minister

The report says: several officials stole $2.8m between 2008-2014.

A company wanted to buy a property belonging to Urban Development Ministry. The Minister and other officials organized an illegal process to sell the property for half the price, causing $1.3m in damages.

Similar property transactions were made for the Minister's family members.

The SIS has launched a felony investigation. https://factor.am/277243.html

Tushonka's assets will remain frozen

The court denied a petition by disgraced general Manvel Grigoryan to remove the arrest on his assets. He was charged with various financial crimes.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284156/

BHK chief Tsarukyan's casino hasn't paid the fees

Shangri La Casino, the largest in Armenia, didn't pay the licensing fees for 3 months, totaling $2.8m, citing COVID-related issues. The IRS wants the money.

When asked about why they renewed their license despite knowing they wouldn't have clients, the casino said "we wanted to remain open and continue to pay employee salaries."

The IRS had earlier invited them to discuss the issue but they didn't show up. They claimed that not enough time was given for preparations.

https://www.1lurer.am/hy/2020/08/17/ՊԵԿ-ը-1-4-միլիարդ-դրամ-է-պահանջում-Գագիկ-Ծառուկյանի-ընտանիքին-պատկանող-«Օնիրա-քլաբից»/295749

Amulsar & Lydian / Laboratory resumes

Lydian miner: // we're reopening the analytical chemistry lab in Gorayq village which was operating since 2007. It was earlier shut down after illegal activities by environmental activists.

Local youth will be able to learn and work with science.

Armenia will have its first-ever "internationally certified technology of passive treatment for acid rock drainage." (Google Translate) \\

--

Activists gathered in the gated park in front of Parliament building to show support for Amulsar's preservation. The police notified them and the journalists that this area requires a permit for such "protests", and asked them to return after getting one.

Activists from Jermuk will soon hold a car rally to Yerevan.

https://factor.am/277171.html , https://youtu.be/oN7Wi2XJZC4?t=2121 , https://youtu.be/N0uYHWjfSlA

Հերթը հասավ Սոթքին

A group of 200 Geghamasar residents shut down a highway to protest the activities of nearby Sotq mine. They complain that the recent explosions created a cloud of toxic dust.

The mine's representatives agreed to meet the protesters. The highway was opened.

https://factor.am/277132.html , https://factor.am/277206.html

Civil society groups discuss election reforms / Ineligible voters inflating electoral numbers

NGOs held a meeting:

The govt has SECT system that contains information about whether the person is located in Armenia. Since SECT was implemented in certain checkpoints with delays, it doesn't have accurate info about people who left/entered.

Another problem for SECT is caused when the person changes their last name abroad, for example after marriage.

If "Sasun" moves to Russia and writes his name as "Sergey", it'll case a problem.

--

One way to fix the problem with ineligible voters being on voter lists, as it's done in Georgia, is to require a valid ID to keep the person on the list.

These days, expired passports are not accepted for any transaction except for voting. This exception should be removed.

--

This will remove 188,000 people from voter lists.

Inflated numbers cause various problems. It makes it harder to gather enough % votes to add an issue to a ballot.

--

We also need to make sure people are registered to vote in districts where they actually live. This is especially important for provincial elections because local officials have a record of collecting residents from elsewhere to vote in another location.

--

Many people don't want to register their real address as their voting address because they want to hide the fact that they own the new address they live in (tax purposes?).

We must make it clear to the public that these electoral changes have no legal effect on their property ownership issues.

--

Full 2.5 hour video: https://factor.am/277091.html

https://youtu.be/B0ywmPt0ArM

Tags: ##ElectoralReform #Elections #VoterList

Tavush village Aygepar...

.... is being rebuilt after being bombed by Azerbaijan during Tavush Battles. New roofs were installed on several houses.

Photos: https://factor.am/277077.html

Bordering villages to have Smart Barns

Moo. Thirty-four high-tech barns will be built in Gegharquniq's and Vayots Dzor's bordering regions, co-funded by Economy Ministry and the UN.

Up to 70% of the barn's cost can be subsidized. Must have a valid passport and a two-week veterinary training.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284154/

ex-Defense Minister becomes Pashinyan's chief adviser

Vagharshak Harutyunyan was a Lt. General. He was critical of the Kocharyan administration and allegedly played a role against Kocharyan's plans to give a "corridor" to Azerbaijan in Armenia's southern Meghri province.

He was fired by Kocharyan and had his military rank stripped in 2002. He described it as "political persecution".

In 2019, Pashinyan restored his military rank after finding Kocharyan's decision illegal.

Today he was appointed as Pashinyan's adviser.

https://factor.am/277300.html

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30126601.html

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/1569941.html

After Pashinyan gets grilled by BBC's HARDTalk, Ilham Aliyev next?

HARDTalk invited Pashinyan for confrontational-style Q&A. The show also invited Ilham Aliyev. Will he accept the challenge, too?

An expert is skeptical that Aliyev himself will agree. "The former MFA Mammedyarov was experienced and might have agreed, but the new MFA isn't. They won't risk it."

https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2020/08/18/Ilham-Aliyev-will-not-risk-to-participate-in-BBC%E2%80%99s-HARDtalk-Elibekova/2345519

COVID stats

+145 infected. +8 deaths. 186,661 tested. 5,787 active. 300 serious/critical.

https://factor.am/277093.html

Unemployment during COVID

230,000 unemployed and 1mln employed, said economist Hrant Margaryan. "This year's positive migration balance was a result of borders being closed."

http://arka.am/en/news/society/230_000_unemployed_in_armenia_now_expert_/

COVID testing in airport

Tourism-Armenia Association signed a deal with a COVID testing laboratory to conduct 6-hour tests for tourists visiting Zvartnots airport.

The visitors will get a 50% discount and will receive the results on email. If it's negative, they'll be allowed to exit the quarantine instead of waiting 14 days.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025282.html

COVID restrictions will be relaxed

Universities will also resume in September. Libraries, museums, theaters can operate under open-air.

TV anchors don't have to wear a mask if they're alone in the room.

Restaurants can perform live music under the open air. The max number of patrons near a table increases from 5 to 8.

https://factor.am/277222.html

Japan issued a $2m grant to Armenia...

....to fight against COVID through equipment purchases.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025286.html

This 6-year-old kid cooks better than you. Admit it.

Mom found out about an upcoming cooking competition in Goris and registered his 6-year-old son Mher Harutyunyan. He became the youngest participant.

The kid prepared a stuffed fish with a salad and was declared the winner. He won a trip to a cooking show.

"Mher has been helping grandpa and mom in kitchen since the age of 3. His dream is to open a restaurant."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025247.html

Pashinyan's youngest daughter Arpi was baptized

Video: https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/222906089113674/

Internal tourism during the pandemic

With the airports "closed", more people choose hiking and nature adventure, says the Tourism Committee.

Armenia has 11 companies that organize hiking to mountains. They gather 1,000 people every weekend.

Lately, there has been a great interest in rafting and canyoning. The youth also prefers horse riding and biking.

Off-road car travel among a small group is also common. They install tents to take a rest.

High-end hotels are already full for the next month.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025214.html

A herd of bezoar goats was captured by nature camera

Capra aegagrus live in rocky areas with bushes.

https://youtu.be/ZJnTCoSQ2bM

Belarus: April 2018 or March 2008? / Lukashenko strikes a desperate tone

Context here.

During a speech to his "loyal" factory supporters, people began chanting "leave" at Lukashenko:

https://t.me/nexta_tv/3817

--

He finished the speech with "Thanks. I've said everything. You can keep shouting LEAVE now."

https://youtu.be/2wZb_Y357to&t=19

--

A protester then shouted, "Shoot yourself, officer". Lukashenko approached the man to confront him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edcKH0ksAgs

--

He gave another speech during which he warned the public that unfriendly NATO troops are only 15 minutes away from the borders:

https://youtu.be/R5Ssn2E1J8E?&t=309

--

The desperate man thanked his supporters for gathering in the square for a show of support.

"We built this country together. Who do you wanna give it to? Think hard, Belorussians. What is wrong with you? You've wanted to be called "people" for centuries. End me now, and it'll be the beginning of the end of yours."

https://youtu.be/QvCgC_Ub1Ac?&t=73

--

Aerial view of the size of the protests in Minsk. Half a million marched across the country:

https://youtu.be/f4W7wC2po9M

https://youtu.be/rUxPk_1MdtI?&t=220

--

What angered the public the most was the brutality by the special forces and executions of protesters. Local administrators were confronted and scolded by the angry crowd, who demanded the release of the detained activists.

https://youtu.be/XjZn91kZZEY

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Doctors went on strike because they weren't allowed to enter jails to treat the thousands of detainees. There are widespread reports of torture. Medics chanted "resign" and "tribunal".

https://youtu.be/ODf4JlGD4RY

--

Journalists noticed a fleet of trucks coming from Russia. They said the trucks look similar to Russian National Guard trucks that often appear during protests in Russia.

https://youtu.be/yGx-DvXx3wU

--

Lukashenko rewarded 300 riot cops for their loyalty.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30789869.html

--

You've read 1940 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ic8c4x/aug182020_news_exyerevan_mayor_exminister_busted/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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