2019 December 27
Anti-Corruption & Daily News Summary from Armenia - Dec/27/2019 :: Stay informed about what's happening in Armenian Politics, Economy, Law Enforcement Busts, Major Developments, and more...
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.
October 27 terror attack. How the investigation unfolded. Why was it recently reopened?
After the October 27, 1999 terror attack there was an investigation of terrorist ringleader Nairi Hunanyan. After the public's demands to find out if Hunanyan had sponsors, Kocharyan govt decided to launch the second investigation just for that.
Because the public didn't trust the general prosecutor's office, a decision was made that this case would be investigated by the military prosecution.
Military prosecutor Gagik Jhangiryan began investigating it. He officially opened a felony case giving more weight to the claims that Hunanyan had sponsors. Jhanginryan was then accused by the Kocharyan govt of doing that for political reasons.
The case was then moved from the military prosecutor's office to the general prosecutor's office. It was then shut down by the general prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan in 2004, amid criticism by victims' families.
(Jhanginryan himself would later become a victim of political persecutions after defying the Kocharyan regime post-March 1st 2008)
A few days ago the current general prosecutor decided to re-open that investigation after receiving legal demands by the victims' families. It'll be re-examined by NSS.
The former military prosecutor Jhanginryan, the head of the original investigation, gave an interview yesterday, saying he and his former colleagues are willing to cooperate with the NSS to provide them with info that they possess.
He says the original case was shut down for political reasons because of the way it was done under a pressure by people who weren't directly investigating the case.
9 people connected to the October 27 case have died since 1999. Judge Uzunyan who presided over the trial escaped to Russia last week after facing unrelated bribery charges.
Jhangiryan says this won't hinder the new investigation because the key actors are still alive.
"When we were investigating the case, our group was under pressure. We had 2 felony cases launched against us. Can you name one African country in which prosecutors are investigating a terror attack while having the authorities launch felony cases against them? Today the situation is different. There are no political barriers to having a new transparent investigation."
Terrorist Nairi Hunanyan was, at the time, a candidate to be recruited by NSS to act as an agent in a foreign state. Jhangiryan won't speak publicly about details.
Q: Why did Kocharyan's chief of staff, who was reported by Nairi HUnanyan as being one of the organizers of their terror group, was excluded from the list of suspects? Same about two media magnates associated with Kocharyan?
A: The military prosecution interviewed and pressed charges against thems. Even the court at the time gave permission to arrest them. But then the courts lost their independence, and these folks had their cases terminated one after another before being released.
Terrorist Hunanyan also began to retract some of his own testimonies.
MP Babajanyan recently went and met Hunanyan in prison to ask him a few questions. Unfortunately, we can't take whatever Hunanyan says today seriously because he's a desperate man who's willing to say anything just to get out of prison, but of crouse, no govt would risk to free him. There are no laws that could free Hunanyan, he's desperate.
The only thing we can trust coming out of Hunanyan's mouth today is if he declares that his initial testimony, which he retracted years ago, was correct (because he made those statements "fresh" before going to prison for life and before becoming "desperate").
Q: Who was placing pressure on you, your investigative team, and Hunanyan?
A: I'll say it when the time is right. When the prosecutors and court barred anyone from meeting Hunanyan, there were people entering Hunanyans' and his group members' prison cells. This was done behind our backs. All this will be addressed when the investigation reopens.
Q: There are rumors about Russia being behind it. Before being poisoned by Russian agents, Russian whistleblower KGB agent Litvinenko said that the Russian special forces organized the terror.
A: Everything needs to be investigated.
End of Jhangiryan interview segment.
HHK Justice Minister/Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan
SIS earlier launched property embezzlement and abuse of power investigation which implicated Hrayr Tovmasyan, who is the current Constitutional Court (CC) chief and served as a HHK MP and Justice Minister in past. His investigation is about his activities while he was a Minister.
This morning he went to CC where he was questioned by SIS investigators.
HHK and ARF held a support picket outside of CC building. Tovmasyan's friend and former deputy-Justice Minister Ruben Melikyan says Tovmasyan was charged with a felony.
SIS confirms: Tovmasyan was charged with felony "abuse of power which led to serious consequences". He's told not to leave Armenia.
Tovmasyan refused to testify, saying his charges are "politically motivated and he knew it was coming".
General Prosecutor gave more details about Tovmasyan's charges:
While being the Justice Minister and having power over notaries in 2012-2013, Tovmasyan and his godson Panosyan, who was also working at the Justice Ministry, threatened several notaries to have them falsify docs to embezzles properties. The properties were stolen by Tovmasyan and registered under another person's name.
Later in 2013, Tovmasyan pressured 2 notaries to sign a property lease deal not beneficial to the notaries. Doing so he embezzled 12mln until 2014.
In Feb-2012 Tovmasyan threatened retaliation against independent notaries unless they rented a property from him. The notaries had to sign the unfavorable deal to give Tovmasyan 300k/mo for an unrepaired crappy room. Tovmasyan got 10mln. Notaries spent another 2.5mln to do repairs.
A felony case is launched.
Tovmasyan's lawyers complained that the authorities have no right to charge him because he has judicial immunity.
Prosecutor explains why Tovmasyan can be charged despite being a judge:
Tovmasyan isn't charged with doing things as a CC judge. These are about his 2010-2014 activities as a Minister. Therefore he doesn't have judicial immunity. This was made possible by the 2015 Constitutional referendum. It was the old Constitution that granted broad immunity, which doesn't exist anymore.
(Basically, Tovmasyan played himself by writing the 2015 Constitution for HHK.)
A Parliament MP Babajanyan earlier filed a report with SIS to investigate Tovmasyan about his activities as a Justice Minister. Some property shenanigans happened involving his family. Construction materials were gone missing.
This is separate from another investigation against HHK MPs who are accused of breaking laws to illegally "hijack" the Constitutional Court in 2018 by rushing Tovmasyan into court.
Recently more accusations were made against Tovmasyan and his fellow CC members, by another CC member. They're accused of colluding with Serj's regime to falsify election results for many years by keeping crucially important voter lists secret from the public. This would allow the Roboserj regime to claim that people, who aren't even in Armenia, had voted for them.
Tag: HrayrTovmasyan, HrayrTovmasyanCharges, ConstitutionalCourt,
Arinj municipality employees took a 3.8mln bribe in exchange for giving land to someone in 2016, says NSS. A felony case is launched.
NSS busted army officials with embezzling 5.3mln worth jet fuel which was supposed to be used during training in July-2019. A felony case is launched.
As Armenia awaits for the smoking restriction laws to go into effect, here is a 12-minute documentary by 60 Minutes Australia about California and how the restrictions changed the tobacco consumption and culture.
YoY 45% more people visited Gyumri hospital to get heart surgery. Hospital credits free subsidies for being the reason.
NO love for cabbies?
A dashcam video began circulating showing a luxury Brabus driver knocking down and kicking a taxi driver on the ground. Cops identified and arrested the Brabusnik. He's charged with assault and battery, and property damage. He's told not to leave the country.
NO love for thieves?
The police raided areas that are commonly used as gathering spots by thieve-in-law criminal subculture figures.
Dozens of cars were searched. Gun, knives and drugs were found. Several people were detained.
This is part of a big operation titled "Zinanots" that happened across Armenia.
Some suspects voluntarily turned-in weapons (no charges if you voluntarily do it).
ARMS TWISTED https://youtu.be/THVWkUcfY0I
NO love for Christmas?
One of the Christmas trees installed on the Northern Avenue pedestrian boulevard caught on fire. Grinch is on the run (to Moscow?).
NO love for helicopters either?
Top-10 fake news of 2019 by FIP outlet:
1) Arsenal players danced Kochari in Baku in honor of Henrikh Mkhitaryan who couldn't go there for a soccer finale.
2) Versailles Palace burned down.
3) QP conducted a survey on Facebook to see if people are willing to pay 200AMD for transport.
4) 1st lady Anna Hakobyan flew together with Azeri 1st lady Aliyeva and tried to hide it.
5) Pashinyan sends a secret letter to NATO asking to strengthen the ties, behind Russia's back.
6) After the Turkish invasion of Syria some photos of migration begun to circulate on the Armenia social media sphere.
7) 3rd gender department to open by the Labor Ministry.
8) Pashinyan was discharged from the army for being mentally unstable.
9) Defense Minister Tonoyan was fired/quit. The paperwork was sent to the president for the final signature.
10) October 27 terrorist Nairi Hunanyan would be freed by October 2019.
Serj dancing during a HHK party.
All-Armenia charity fund released new numbers:
The influx of new online donations isn't stopping due to the trend in which people challenge one another.
3509 donors are registered. $327k donated recently (outside of telethon day). Russian diaspora started to be more active after the Fund launched an ad campaign.
$10.7mln so far. It'll be spent on water delivery and solar energy projects in Armenia and Artsakh.
Army news, interview with the spokesman, new jets and OSA.
Armenia received new OSA anti-air missile units
Four SU-30SM fighter jets have arrived in Armenia. 8 to arrive later after more negotiations.
The modern jets were recently purchased from Russia as part of a $100mln deal. Armenian pilots went through training in Russia.
The military ended up choosing SU instead of a Swedish jet due to "less learning curve" (and probably politics).
This purchase has established a new segment in the Armenian army. Other jets under our possession don't have these capabilities.
30-40 countries have jets that are this good.
A strong air fleet is the 2nd most important weapon after the nuke. It can destroy any enemy weapon, even submarines, tanks, infantry units, underground units, objects in space.
You could use these destroyer jets to shoot 2,000km-range missiles if you have such missiles.
These Su-30SM models are the most experienced and used in their family. They were used in Syria. The crew servicing the jets will be ready soon.
Azerbaijan does not have any weapons that can shoot down these jets granting they are utilized properly. There is historical precedence proving this.
Azeri S-300 units cannot shoot them even if Azerbaijan placed their units in Nakhijevan. The jets can evade it if used properly.
The recently purchased TOR units are a great addition to these jets. They can shoot down drones. It's in the top-4 list of weapons in its category.
The newly purchased OSA-AKM+ anti-air units (new batch, but Armenia has had those models before), despite being made in the 70s, are modernized in Armenia upon arrival. They've done a great job so far. We shot some targets just a few months ago (won't say what targets). In the past few years, they shot >10 Azeri drones.
"I'm gonna be the first pilot", bragged Pashinyan while climbing the jet.
Photo depicting Prime Minister in the jet while an expert explains him not to touch the red button to prevent the nearby village from being blown up, circa 2019.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/eggce3/anticorruption_daily_news_summary_from_armenia/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2021 Daily Armenia Reports|