2019 April 9
Anti-Corruption Apr/9/2019: Gago's mall raided... Gambling firm 1bln.... Land sales to HHK... Serj family in Artsakh.... Pashinyan fires IRS workers.... SOC chief testifies in court.... Kotayk governor vs Abovyan.... Yerevan building.... Arrested Facebook user incited public to stab HKK MPs.... more
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Yesterday we learned that on 2008, Yerevan municipality illegally sold lands to someone for below-market values. It turns out it was sold to HHK party. 👌
IRS, with the court's authorization, is auditing BHK chief Gagik "Dod" Tsarukyan's Arinj Mall. They are suspected of not paying taxes from gazebo rental money they collect from 3rd party traders.
The firm's representative denies wrongdoing, says someone gave false information to IRS. The mall's rep also condemned the fake news on social media for spreading rumors that the mall is shutting down in a few days, calling it harmful for the business because people might read that and decide not to come to shop.
IRS has busted EuroFutbol gambling firm's CEO with 1 billion Dram damages to state. He is accused of using an offshore firm registered in Curaçao island (belonging to Netherlands) to coverup and run an unlicensed gambling business since Nov-2018.
Artsakh opposition (anti-Roboserj) MP Hayk Khanumyan is accusing Serj Sargsyan's son-in-law of being involved in a possibly illegal embezzlement of billions of drams from Artsakh Investment Fund.
He says that on 2016, the Fund spent 2.8bln to purchase 100% of the shares of a coal mine "Energia Plus". The mine was purchased from Hasa Group corporation. The sole owner-shareholder of Hasa Group was Serj's son-in-law Hayk Khachatryan.
Few days before the purchase of Energia Plus, another company called Energia Minus joined Energia Plus. Energia Minus was run by Artsakh PM Araik Harutyunyan's friend.
Energia Group was then supposed to run a mine after being given a tax-free deal by Artsakh government on 2012, but didn't operate.
MP Khanumyan has raised this issue multiple times in Artsakh, but was told the sale was legal.
Pashinyan visited different IRS branches. PM says IRS's reputation is high today. He went around Araratyan customs center and threw a hissy fit at the dirty conditions, asked the streets to be properly labeled, center cleaned up, and better conditions to be created for the visitors.
He then joined a person who was trying to have his car cleared by the customs. The process took only 20 minutes. Pashinyan added that if it took 20 minutes at his presence, it should hopefully take 20 minutes for everyone else.
During the visit to Noragavit vehicle customs clearing point, PM got mad and asked the IRS customs employees to resign/fired for keeping the rooms in very dirty conditions and having the Armenian flag thrown on the ground.
SOC chief David Sanasaryan (DS) testified as a witness in the court. The case is about an anti-Serj protest that took place in Sari Tagh on 2016, during Sasna Tsrer group's hostage takeover of a police station. The protests ended with the police violently dispersing the protesters. Several nearby residents reported having been "terrorized" by the police which was looking for some of the participants of the protests. The defendant of this case is a political figure Andrias Ghukasyan, who is accused of organizing the protest and later trying to join Sasna Tsrer.
DS was also among the protesters. They decided to march from the public square to near the police station with a hope that the hostage takers and the police wouldn't shoot at one another due to the crowd's discouragements. When they reached Sari Tagh district, some police-allied people who had civilian clothes started to throw rocks towards the protesters. DS and the defendant tried to calm the protesters. The police told them to leave. DS and defendant told the police it's impossible because they need some time to calm the protesters.
The police used riot weapons and gas. DS helped to extinguish a fire on a woman whose clothes caught fire. During this process, DS says (pro-Serj) agitators were throwing rocks at the protestors from the hills. Journalists and his father were attacked. DS was taken to police station, where he received concussion after being beaten by the police. He was kept detained illegally for lengthy periods.
The police only gave the protestors 5 minutes to leave the scene. Considering the size of the crowd, it was impossible to comply.
(Implicated in the case is also Levon Yeranosyan, the former military police chief who is charged in another similar improper equipment use case during 2018 revolution). DS says Yeranosyan was behaving aggressively and appeared to be under a substance influence in Sari Tagh. While DS and Andreas Ghukasyan were asking Yeranosyan not to fire towards the crowd, Yeranosayan's eye movements and the aggressive behavior made it apparent he wasn't sober.
End of DS statement.
Kotayk governor Romanos Petrosyan has contacted prosecutors after finding possibly illegal activities by officials in Abovyan.
Laws were violated while issuing construction permits, 2mln was stolen on 2016, 2.4mln stolen on 2017, 2.5mln stolen on 2018. Several gov-funded kindergarten officials made unauthorized expenditures. Mayor recorded several workers as being hired, but without the proper authorization of the municipality board, which caused 1mln/month damages to state. Some municipality sessions took place without following the procedures. During 2016-2018, numerous illegal purchases were made without authorization or auction. Illegal land sales. Illegal buildings. 66,000 pieces of literature books were illegally sold as paperweight for pennies.
March 1st 2008 case investigators have questioned the general who was the deputy-chief of the military unit that was formed on 2008 after the infamous Order 0038, which involved the military in politics.
Yerevan municipality has contacted the prosecutors about an illegal decision made on 2004 by Yerevan administration and Culture Ministry, after which a cultural building on Arami 9 was destroyed. The building was once used by Aram Manukyan, the founder of the 1st Armenian Republic. A criminal case is launched about abuse of power.
(Protecting traditions since 2004 👌)
Parliament has fully adopted the laws about requiting gas stations to measure gas by weight, and the addition of Citizen's Day to holiday calendar.
ex-HHK MP Babukhanyan is suing George Soros' Armenia-based branch for an alleged defamation, after the foundation's representative revealed that they paid the HHK MP money to travel and participate in a human rights conference.
Pashinyan was asked to comment about the transgender activist story, after criticism by Roboserj circles. He said HHK, which calls itself the defender of family and traditions, on 2015 gave a man named Vagharshak Martirosyan a passport with the name changed to Lilith Martirosyan (the trans activist) and the gender specified as Male.
"Why is now HHK all of a sudden active about this. Have they ever met a man named Lilith?". By giving him that passport and registering as a voter with that name, HHK gave Lilith full rights that all other citizens have, added Pashinyan.
I told HHK they are gay activists, but they didn't believe me, said Pashinyan. They can't escape the reality. They have no right to criticize others on this topic. I verified with the authorities that BHK Naira Zohrabyan herself signed to authorize the speech. Added Pashinyan.
Pashinyan wants the churchmen, BHK and HHK to answer, is Lilith Harutyunyan a human or not? Pashinyan also criticized BHK and their ability to lead the Parliamentary Huamn Rights Committee because these actions put a stain on Armenia's positions in human rights.
Pashinyan blamed BHK and others for causing "an anti-revolution provocation".
HHK Shmays is back from Las Vegas. He was asked to comment on the LGBT topic. "What do I have to say, you know better than I do." He says he would have made a scene if he was in the Parliament building that day (good old days).
"չգիտեմ՝ գենդեր են, գյանդո՞ր են․․․ տենց բան չի կարա լինի, որովհետև Հանրապետականն էն տղեքն են, որ իսկականից դեմ կլինեին։ Կլարեին, էլի, ըտեղից։"
Another document is published showing that BHK Naira Zohrabyan exchanged emails with the LGBT group and agreed to discuss with them about a possible speech in Parliament, before approving it.
We can only speculate now. It is possible that Zohrabyan (currently overseas) wasn't aware of the nature of the group. It is also possible that the topic of the speech was presented as being about gender equality, which is why Zohrabyan got angry after the speech and accused the LGBT speaker of giving out of topic speech (LGBT issues). Others believe BHK created the incident on purpose so the public will have displeasure with QP, which is viewed as the main power in the Parliament.
BHK will not suspend Parliamentary Human Rights Committee chief Naira Zohrabyan for her handling of the session during which the transgender activists gave a speech.
Another BHK member said "Not everyone have equal rights in Armenia. Maybe in Europe they do, but in Armenia our traditions are more important", said BHK Vardan Ghukasyan.
EU's office in Armenia is deeply concerned by the anti-LGBT activists' threats towards the transgender woman. They reminded that physical threats are against the Armenian Constitution, and hope that the police will take action to protect the LGBT and investigate the threat makers.
Pashinyan was asked if fighting online fakes is a suppression of media or not. He said the fake Facebook account owner who was recently arrested, told his followers to stab HHK members during a QP march, which is against the law. "If a HHK member was stabbed, who would be blamed for it?", added PM.
2019Q1 vs 2018Q1, the airport traffic visitors/goers rose by 10.2%.
Defense Minister Tonoyan met Czech colleague. The latter explained that some of their mortar weapons ended up in Azerbaijan through a third party reseller, and not a direct sale. Czech Republic does not authorize licenses to heavy weapon sales to Azerbaijan in order not to disturb the peace negotiation process.
Armenia and Czechia signed a military-industrial cooperation agreement. Soon Czech delegation will meet PM and others to develop a possible weapon sales program. 300 Armenian soldiers have been re-trained in Czechia so far.
Armenian army is training more attack units and adjusting its weapons purchase towards more offensive type, said Defense ministry spokesman. "The peace that exists at the border wasn't given as a gift to Armenia. We forced the opponent to respect peace."
Defense Ministry is still internally discussing whether to reduce the mandatory 2-year conscript for frontlines soldiers, and increase it for those who serve in "easier" locations.
Freestyle wrestling European championship. Arsen Harutyunyan advanced to semi-finals after defeating the Turkish athlete Recep Topal 5:2. There, he defeated Romanian athlete and will fight for gold tomorrow against a Georgian athlete.
70 US House of Representatives has joined an initiative by ANCA-allied Reps to push for a new Armenian Genocide recognition and condemnation bill.
Italian MPs are in the process of forming a bill to formally recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide. Turkey isn't happy. They called the Italian ambassador in Ankara to give explanations.
Earlier, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said Turkey will never be a member of EU, and the merger discussions should permanently end.
President Sarkissian and PM Pashinyan spoke with Portugal PM about improving tourism, possible cooperation in tech projects and satellite science, and establishment of direct flights between the countries.
First Lady Anna Hakobyan met Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, deputy-mayor Nina Hachikyan and LA council member Paul Grigoryan. She then met the LA Armenian community.
(Bois is Glendale leaking all over LA?)
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held a discussion with Azeri political activists about the human rights in Azerbaijan. Popular figures Leila Yunusova, Rasul Jafavor, Ilgar Mammadov and others urged Europe not to fall for Aliyev's tactics that mimic reforms. They say the freedom of expression situation is still bad. (Azerbaijan still has over 70 political prisoners).
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bbdzks/anticorruption_apr92019_gagos_mall_raided/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|