2019 August 27
Anti-Corruption & News - Aug/27/2019:: NSS busts former IRS boss/Finance Minister ::: Chess fiasco - Azerbaijan responds - Turkey backtracks ::: Education Ministry's plans for schools ::: Financial rating+ ::: Salaries+ ::: Infrastructure ::: Lt.Colonel arrested ::: Genocide letters by Turkish govt
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 busted the former IRS boss and Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan with "causing large amounts of damage" to the state. 800mln has been recovered so far, out of the suspected multi-billion case. The investigation begun in February.
Khacharyan has long been a subject of criticism for alleged corruption. This morning the NSS raided his house, offices, lands, as well as properties belonging to his affiliates. Khachatryan was questioned several times, says NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan.
Khachatryan will be brought to a police station. His nephew, who served as IRS's head of Internal Security, will be questioned as well.
Journalist: why is only now, after the revolution, the law enforcement doing this investigation? Was there no evidence in past?
Journalist: what if Khachatryan managed to destroy evidence during all these years?
Vanetsyan: the evidence we have today is enough to charge him.
Remember when in March HHK raised an alarm accusing the govt of trying to take away a building from a military academy? That luxury building was built by Gagik Khachatryan for IRS use. A public criticism and corruption accusations resulted in HHK "donating" the building to a military academy to soften the criticism. That building's construction was one of the ways Khachatryan was accused of "wasting" state funds. A felony investigation was launched under the Pashinyan administration regarding corruption during the construction process. It is unclear whether today's news is related to this. It's possible that this is a separate case, and both cases will be merged under one investigation. (In the end, that building wasn't taken away from the military academy fyi.)
Update: Gagik Khachatryan and his nephew have been arrested. Khachatryan's lawyer says there was no need for an arrest at this stage, and they'll challenge it in court. He didn't answer how Khachatryan allegedly bought a €2.6mln house in Paris, when asked by a journalist.
Update: The long time coach of Armenian Greco-Roman wrestling team Levon Julfalakyan resigned yesterday. He made the decision due to internal disagreements on how and where athletes should train. He is in favor of a stricter schedule, while several people complained that they want a more flexible training course.
Julfalakyan will continue to work as a personal trainer. He plans to help his son Arsen, who is also a famed wrestler. Olympic games are next year.
A low-cost tour agency OneTwoTrip says the number-one destination for Russian tourists this season was Armenia, with 10% of Russians heading there. Italy 7.9%, Spain 6.3%, Turkey 6.2%, then Greece, France, Czechia.
Hi Yerevantsis. A new fleet of garbage trucks has arrived for you.
Residents of a Yerevan building are complaining against a municipality decision to authorize a construction of a 16 story building next to theirs. Some say the area needs more playgrounds and not tall buildings, others say the construction noise won't let them have rest.
District manager went to talk to the residents. They discussed the existing parking issue. The building is supposed to have a kindergarten, and will donate some of its new parking garages to the neighboring residents.
Lori police uncovered 3 illegal logging incidents in 2 days. Trucks full of chopped wood were stopped and searched by the highway cops. The owners pinpointed the location where the trees were cut.
Update: Last year a man was beaten after an argument with BHK boss Gagik Tsarukyan and bodyguards. The man was transported to a hospital with injuries. At first he testified against the attacker, but later refused to cooperate with the police, saying the injuries were caused by something else. The man was later charged with giving a false information to the police.
Gagik's bodyguard was found guilty and received a sentence which he didn't serve due to the 2018 mass amnesty.
The prosecutors believe Gagik Tsarukyan also punched the man, but it isn't clear whether that punch caused an injury, and the Cassations Court had earlier set a precedence by which one punch isn't consider as "beating someone". That was the reason behind not pursuing charges against Gagik himself.
38,000 public teachers to receive a 10% raise beginning September. It'll cost 6bln/year. Teachers who participate in a new retraining program meant for improving the quality of education, will see a 50% salary raise.
Financial literacy will be taught in 350 additional schools. Entrepreneurship will be taught in every school since the young age. The goal is to have a financially literate and business savvy generation.
Universal school uniform will not be a requirement. Children cannot be required to wear only black and white.
The food program that gives a hot meal every other day to elementary school kids, will continue.
Books will be split in two halves so kids won't carry a heavy load.
Vayots Dzor prosecutors have a felony forgery and embezzlement case against a director of a construction firm who embezzled 4mln state funds during a renovation of a sports center in 2016.
A Lieutenant Colonel of the army has been arrested for embezzling 9.5mln worth fuel between 2016-2019. He is also charged with deliberately not reporting a theft of a property from a radio-location headquarter that was under his command.
The govt made a decision to give a salary raise to firefighters and rescuers beginning this October. Minister of Emergency Felix Tsolakyan has long complained that low salaries don't allow them to retain employees. The size of raise is still unknown, said Pashinyan.
Ministry of Infrastructure met governors and discussed the ongoing data collection to map out the transport system in Armenia, with the goal of having a new transport system that'll connect small rural areas to regional cities, and the cities to capital Yerevan.
Provincial municipalities collected 15% more in taxes in 1H19vs18.
This year so far the govt is subsidizing 483 various infrastructure projects worth 23.8bln in provinces.
Moody's financial rating organization has improved Armenia's rating from B1 to Ba3 because of growing economy, diversification, and the stable micro-economy. Pashinyan labeled this as an important factor to increase the trust towards the economy to attract investments.
Pashinyan during a meeting with Armenian ambassadors to other nations:
Karabakh got its independence the same way as Azerbaijan got its independence from USSR. Work needs to be done to change the false perception among the international community that Karabakh, Abkhazia and few other conflicts are similar. Karabakh needs to be part of the negotiating table because that was the internationally recognized format that was done initially.
Update on the chess fiasco:
Armenian female chess champion Maria Gevorgyan published evidence of one of Turkish Sivas Chess competition organizers telling her to drop out of games because the Azeri team asked the organizers for her to be dropped out, or else Azeris would boycott the games. She dropped out. Armenian govt contacted FIDE chess bosses to investigate.
Now the Azeri team player says their team did not officially send such request to Turkey, and that only one player sent a personal plea to the Turkish organizers. Azeris claim that the Turkish organizer could have just ignored the letter, but decided to drop the Armenian player in reality to save money on travel ticket/hotel.
It appears that the Turkish chess federation sent a new invitation to her. She says she doesn't mind participating in competitions in Turkey in future because of one person's mistake (Turkish organizer), but it looks like she will be skipping this year's Sivas competition. She received support from chess players from Turkey and elsewhere.
Swedish Parliament president has visited Armenia. Went to Tsitsernakaberd Genocide memorial and museum.
Turkish historian Taner Akcam gave an interview to a Turkish TV, during which he spoke about a government document originated from Erzrum government 4 months before the Genocide, in which it was mentioned the planned killings of Armenians in two cities. The document was classified as secret and instructions were issued by the officials to purge the duplicates of the document.
Similar to some episodes of Holocaust under Hitler, the original "goal" of this particular document was to kill only the armed rebellious Armenian men, but these premeditated killings ended up being carried out against the peaceful population, says the historian.
Between 1914-1915, governors of various Ottoman states sent letters to authorities urging them to get rid of the Armenian population.
Two months before the Genocide begun, the main decision to kill Armenian civilian populace was adopted by the government officials. A party official Bahaetti Shakir wrote a latter to another official about the need to kill all Armenians and "clean the homeland from those cursed people". The letter said the higher administration gave an authorization for the operation, and that regional governments and army will soon be instructed on how to kill. The letter has been confirmed to be signed by Bahaetti Shakir.
Bahaetti Shakir, one of the architects of the Genocide, later escaped to Germany. He was tracked down by the Armenian assassins as part of Operation Nemesis, and was shot in the head.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/cw9jjq/anticorruption_news_aug272019_nss_busts_former/
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|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
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