2020 June 25

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jun/25/2020 News: (1) CC Court crisis. Kocharyan pulls his case. LHK vs All. (2) Big property tax reform (3) Child care subsidies (4) Pashinyan got mad again (5) Roads & Infrastructure (6) Kocharyan's ally charged (7) Armenian mortar (8) Infected taxi driver (9) Cops organized crime (10) A kiss?
by ar_david_hh


Don't miss yesterday's news.


Property tax reform bill passed

Context here. The bill is approved with a 77-11-2 vote. LHK voted against, citing "extra burden for residents".

The govt argued that for many years, HHK purposely kept the govt's property price database outdated so their oligarchs would pay less in taxes from their mansions.

The bill will update the property pricing database to reflect the real prices. Expensive property owners will begin to pay more. Everyone will pay some property tax now. The size will depend on the property value.

--

Small apartment owners will pay as little as $0.5/year, while higher brackets will pay progressively higher %.

Example: a few-million $ house that currently pays $2k/year will pay $14k.

A $6mln house will pay $78k.

A $600k house on Azatutyun Avenue will pay $26k instead of $6k

"A tax collected from a 4bdr apartment cannot equal to the tax collected from an old car," said a QP MP.

"A senior will pay $5/year more, but we raised her pension by $10."

$62k house in one region will pay $40/year vs $5/year in 2018.

--

This is part of govt's wider tax reforms, and it's essentially the answer to "balance" their earlier bill which established a flat income tax by removing the progressive brackets.

--

The new property tax system will be implemented within 4 years. QP suggests amending it to 6 years. During this period, the population will gradually pay the full amount of taxes.

The money will be paid to local govt and not the federal budget, "so they can build roofs, lighting, green areas."

--

What about neighbors? In Armenia, the current property taxation is 0.2% of GDP structure. In Georgia it's 1.1%, and in developed countries it's 2.5%.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191075 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191000 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189302 , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282321/ , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191013 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1019630.html

Child care subsidy bill approved

Parliament approved govt's bill to double the monthly child care subsidy for rural mothers from $53 to $108 if they work, and to begin to pay $53 to those who don't work.

Mothers in Yerevan will have to work to get the $53 aid.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1019641.html

It becomes law tomorrow

Parliament speaker received the president's signature and announced that the bill, which fires 3 Constitutional Court (CC) judges, will become law tomorrow.

--

CC judges made it clear again that they believe they have the right to continue to serve as judges.

--

Pashinyan: CC president Tovmasyan will be demoted to a regular judge, while Tokhyan, Gyulumyan, and Nazaryan will be terminated effective tonight at 00:01.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191062 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191120

LHK and BHK throw jabs

BHK accused LHK of treason for delaying the process of sending the "CC bill" to CC for a review. "There is almost no opposition left in Parliament," said BHK MP Urikhanyan.

LHK responded accusing the BHK MP of hypocrisy and not signing under LHK's own initiative to send the bill to CC. "25 BHK MPs have already signed to send the bill to CC after July 7th," says LHK.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191068 , https://factor.am/263540.html

Kocharyan doesn't want CC to review his case

Kocharyan's defense is pulling their March 1st petition from CC.

They criticized LHK for not sending the bill to CC immediately and explained the move to pull the petition as a way to de-escalate the conflict and prevent damage to the development of parliamentarism in Armenia, because LHK explained their delay to send the bill to CC as a way to prevent damage to parliamentarism.

--

LHK MPs: The CC can still decide to hear the Kocharyan case on July 7th even if Kocharyan pulls their petition. Kocharyan's lawyer is bluffing.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191078 , https://factor.am/263646.html , https://factor.am/263654.html , https://factor.am/263660.html , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282351/

Pashinyan blasts BHK, voter buying, fake news, and Roboserj embezzlement:

Is it news to you that BHK used to buy votes? They spent $500,000 and gathered only 200 protesters the other day, half of whom were employees who attended under threats.

Is [BHK] scaring us with protests? What if we hold a protest against them? They should scare us not with protests but with their level of illiteracy and the ability to embezzle.

--

To those who accuse us of censorship today, show me another period when 3-7 opposition TVs would invite so many political corpses to attack the government all day long. Every international institute says free speech has improved.

But we made a mistake by listening to others and lifting the ban on COVID-related fake news. Filthy circles spread fake news to infect and kill as many people as possible.

--

Every political party, NGO, and media outlet must be 100% transparent about its ownership, so the so-called presidents cannot use their embezzled money to secretly fund an army of "fakes" to push COVID fake news as a hybrid war against the public.

A certain MP operates 3,500 fake accounts.

Get out of your kitchen, Mishik.

--

We've witnessed political persecutions in Armenia for 30 years. Where have you seen a victim of a political persecution released by a judge without arrest [refers to Tsarukyan]? If the judge refused to arrest us back in the days, the judge's neck would be twisted in 5 minutes. We don't want a judicial system controlled by anyone.

--

The reason their outlets lie about my family doing illegal smuggling is because they want to associate my name with theirs. They know that when the law about asset forfeiture comes into effect, they'll have to explain how they obtained Dzorahek Hydro, how Serj's family smuggled items with SPAYKA exporter, how they obtained Hilton Hotel branch, how Opera Suite hotel was obtained, how they forcefully took Armenia TV and Shant TV from others, etc.

Full speech: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191071

https://youtu.be/bCWM8b6r88Y , https://youtu.be/jbi3P8vPLi0 , https://youtu.be/kFsUFK7E7bU , https://youtu.be/GrAO3Gya_jA

Kocharyan's ally is accused of more financial crimes

Samvel Mayrapetyan, Kocharyan's mining and media owner friend, was earlier charged with aiding $7mln bribery involving businesswoman Silva Hambardzumyan.

Now he's accused of evading AMD $12mln in taxes

The report says:

Mayrapetyan's GLOBUS firm built and sold an apartment complex in Yerevan in 2006.

To avoid paying taxes from the sale of 141 apartments, he sold them for dirt cheap prices on paper, resulting in $17.8mln in unpaid taxes and penalties.

He then purposely liquidated the GLOBUS firm to wipe out the evidence.

--

Mayrapetyan was earlier released and allowed to flee to the EU for medical purposes after a churchman vouched for him. Prosecutors say he failed to return in time.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191064

update: Gagik Tsarukyan's rape conviction

Recently a document was leaked detailing how CCCP court convicted BHK chief Tsarukyan for raping Russian tourists in 1979.

Post-independence, when Tsarukyan became president Kocharyan's brother's business partner and began winning major contracts, Kocharyan's judge suddenly decided to clear Tsarukyan of his past charges by acquitting him in 2001.

When the rape conviction was resurfaced weeks ago, Tsarukyan's lawyers asked the police to investigate.

Now there is a felony case for leaking personal info.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282344/

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30667783.html

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/running-for-tsar-armenia-s-gagik-tsarukyan/

Armenia produces mortars

High Tech Minister announced about the creation of mortars made in Armenia.

"Ours is more accurate according to tests," said a military-industrial complex rep.

Video including tests: https://www.facebook.com/armgovernment/videos/602785070341844/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191028

Infrastructure projects in Kotayk

"Unprecedented" 104 co-subsidized infrastructure projects will be done in Kotayk this year.

35 of them, worth $5.5mln, will be for road repairs.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191035

... and near the borders

$4.1mln will be spent to renovate roads near Turkish and Georgian borders, as part of the plan to help Armenian workers who couldn't travel to Russia for seasonal work.

This is part of a $64mln (31bln) road repair package.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282360/

COVID stats

+2336 tested. +771 infected. +538 healed. +12 deaths.

102,736 tested. 10,625 active. 11,335 healed.

502 serious. 113 critical. 40 on lung vent.

Two more prominent QP MPs got infected.

--

Minister Torosyan: 24% of those in resuscitation rooms end up dying, compared to 45% in some western countries. This number is "low" thanks to our doctors' hard work.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191036 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191042 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191106 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191121

What is the "real" number?

Pashinyan has been claiming that there are 100,000 infected people right now but most don't know about it.

Healthcare Minister did the math and corrected him, saying the 100,000 would be the all-time infected and not the active ones.

"The real death rate is lower, around 0.3% when you count the undetected cases."

Vanadzor has recently seen a surge in infections. Today, Yerevan has infections across the city and not just in factory-associated districts.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191038

Did Charents and Tumanyan kiss each other? 🤔🤔🤔

Pashinyan: we get accused of destroying our national identity for urging not to hug and kiss each other on the street upon meeting. Since when is that part of our identity? Would Charents and Tumanyan, or Saryan and Avetik Isaakyan kiss on the street? (NIKOL IS FINALLY DESTROYING SOROS's AGENTS)

--

Maybe we were wrong for lifting the ban on fake news during emergencies. Someone claims there is no COVID, another one says it's for micro-chipping.

The circles that spread COVID nonsense see the highest infection rates. Some people still refuse to wear masks.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191048

Infected taxi driver went to work

Abovyan taxi driver received a positive test result on June 23rd. The clinic told him and his family members to self-isolate.

The next day he went to work.

His colleagues criticized him for not staying home. Someone called the police and they took him away.

He's charged with the new felony 277.1 code and is facing between 200k fine to 3 years in prison.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191076

COVID enforcement

Yerevan City mall is temporarily closed for ignoring safety.

ArmHookah was caught violating safety the third time. They're suspended for a week.

1,700 tickets yesterday alone, including 400 in backyards.

https://factor.am/263435.html , https://factor.am/263527.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1019627.html

Azeri hackers

... hacked the Armenian database the second time, and stole the info of 1,000 COVID-infected patients.

Security expert Martirosyan says sometimes the workers will use amateurish mail.ru email accounts to transfer classified information.

"The NSS should pay more attention to cybersecurity."

https://factor.am/263752.html

Azeri social media explodes over Artsakh flag

75 Armenian soldiers went to Moscow to march during the WW2 victory parade.

One of the marching soldiers wore a medal with Artsakh flag.

Since the Armenian group marched right behind the Azeris, the Azeri users believe the flag was a provocation.

https://www.1lurer.am/hy/2020/06/24/Ադրբեջանի-հիսթերիան-Արցախյան-դրոշով-մեդալի-պատճառով-Infoteka24/265451

COVID vs economy

Economic activity index -13% in May YoY, or -4% for the January-May period.

For May: construction -27%. Services -19%. Trade -18%. Foreign trade -17%. Exports -9%. Imports -12%. Inflation +1.2%. Mishik's Organic Kitchen Bread +5000%.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191057

22nd COVID aid package approved

The govt will give a one-time aid, size of the minimum wage, to another group of people who worked pre-pandemic but became unemployed during the pandemic.

It's for those who used to earn <$1,000/mo and hadn't found a new job as of June 1st.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191046

4 cops organized crime so they can boost their stats by uncovering the crime

SIS report says: Davtashen district's police chief and 3 other Neanderthals found an ex-convict and offered him cash so the latter could commit minor crimes.

The plan was that upon busting those crimes, the cops would receive a salary bonus, part of which would be given to the felon. The felon ended up burglarising 15 parked vehicles.

A felony case is launched against the cops.

https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/neanderthal/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191081

Architectural masterpieces of Armenia

https://youtu.be/k9posBYC_ms


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hfsi8c/jun252020_news_1_cc_court_crisis_kocharyan_pulls/

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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