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2018 December 15

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption Dec/15/2018: // Hotels and offshore firms // Kocharyan son as witness // former IRS chief // Narek Gonzalez Sargsyan // Shmays // Arthur Baghdasaryan // more below...
by ar_david_hh

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

(Normally there wouldn't be a post on Saturday, but the NSS chief gave a press conference.)

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NSS chief Vanetsyan says they have contacted foreign authorities and found the real owners of the offshore firm which was registered as the owner of Hotel Golden Palace, which was the center of a big corruption scandal.

The hotel belongs to the family of the former IRS chief Armen Avetisyan, who later agreed to voluntarily give the [Tsaghkadzor Golden Palace] hotel to the state as a "gift". The voluntary cooperation will play a role whether the authorities seek an arrest warrant or not, and he is generally against the idea of arresting people if they cooperate to recover the harm, says Vanetsyan. The investigation continues. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/150716

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In a similar Hotel Congress corruption case, Kocharyan's son Sedrak was questioned as a witness. NSS has uncovered evidence of $6mln money laundering, but no charges have been pressed against individuals yet.

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NSS chief Vanetsyan says he has no offshore firms himself, but his brother with the same last name has a firm in USA, which according to the press was apparently fined $35,000 for violating a law in United States. His brother and family haven't lived in Armenia since 1988. They own very large and successful businesses in at least 5 countries. They do not operate businesses in Armenia. He himself doesn't operate a business in Armenia or abroad, says Vanetsyan for transparency. https://hetq.am/hy/article/99295

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Vanetsyan says Serj's nephew Narek Sargsyan will soon be extradited to Armenia. They've also finished the examination of a painting recovered from his Yerevan house, and it did belong to famous painter Martiros Saryan.

Narek "Gonzalez" Sargsyan is wanted after NSS found large quantities of weapons, drugs, cash and gold in his residence, as well as stolen paintings which he fraudulently obtained from the rightful owner without paying for them. Several of his friends agreed to testify. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/958327.html

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NSS has officially dropped all the charges against former HHK MP Arakel "Shmays" Movsesyan for voluntarily cooperating to surrender his illegal weapons to the state http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/150715

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NEWS.AM twists Vanetsyan's words to make it appear as if he condemned the recent police visits to two news organizations with the intention of gathering information to uncover certain crimes. Vanetsyan gave a press conference in Tsakhkadzor, during which he made a general statement condemning any action that limits the press freedom, and vowed to help the media if such an event were to happen. (which also shows he didn't find the police letter to NEWS.AM as one of those cases).

Backstory: The police sent a letter to NEWS.AM asking if they had any information that would help them investigate a case that would help an opposition politician. Before that, another media outlet had one of its computers confiscated after Google, possibly incorrectly, showed that the the media outlet published an illegal audio leak before it was made public on YouTube, indicating the outlet's possible involvement with the leakers. The outlet's other computers were left in place so they could continue their work. The pro-Kocharyan press has attempted to portray these events as media censorship.

https://news.am/arm/news/486491.html

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Arthur Baghdasaryan, the long time leader and founder of Orinats Yerkir (OEK) party, has decided to quit politics, after his party fails to gain parliamentary seats again. He was once the third presidential candidate by the number of votes. The new OEK leader is Hovhannes Hovhannisyan https://armenpress.am/arm/news/958310.html

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Tourism grew 8.8% in the past 9 months. Travel from USA grew by 20%. Russia remains the biggest source of tourists. Around 1.275 mln tourists visited. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/958305.html

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Olympic and European silver winner and former Greco-Roman wrestler Mihran Harutyunyan has won his second Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight, this time against Belarus Yevgeniy Perepechin. He dedicated the victory to Charles Aznavour. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/958285.html

Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/a6idgg/anticorruption_dec152018_hotels_and_offshore/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports
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