2019 December 3

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News TLDRs - Dec/3/2019 :: National airlines company :: QP vs QP today vs QP a month ago :: Foreign affairs :: Car tariffs :: Yuri :: Judge harassment :: ARF activists :: Black Friday in Armenia :: Gago vs Hayko _ battle of titans :: Cop in prison :: Social media :: Thelethon
by ar_david_hh

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.


Turkey and Genocide

A group of lawyers from Kurdish Diyarbakir region's Bar Association, including its former chair and board members, are facing charges for recognizing the Armenian Genocide in a message that condemned the 1915 events.

http://m.bianet.org/english/human-rights/216547-lawsuit-against-diyarbakir-bar-association-over-its-declaration-on-april-24

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175235

Pashayevs vs Pashinyan intensifies.

Ilham Aliyev is getting old and his health isn't the same as before. Recently he has been getting rid of his father's old Nakhijevan Clan members from the state apparatus to pave the way for his wife's Pashayev Clan to strengthen their powers. The plan is to eventually transfer the presidential powers to Mehriban, who is currently the Vice President, a title made up by Ilham for his wife (so sweet true luv 💖).

Aliyev has just dismissed the largely ceremonial Parliament. New elections will be held within the next few months. It's possible he's trying to fill the seats with people loyal to wife's clan. Parliament has low ratings in Azerbaijan.

Glory to Arstotzka https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175170

Azerbaijan Travel

Another group of Armenians will travel to Azerbaijan, but this time it's different. Infrastructure Ministry and MFA members will travel to Baku to participate in a Europe-Asia trade route discussions.

https://www.e-gov.am/decrees/item/21452/

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175278

EAEU car tariff examples

IRS released a video explaining how much your car imports tax will be if the car is imported from a non-EAEU country. The rules are set to be implemented next month.

If the car is less than 3 years old, tariff depends on the car's value and the engine volume:

Cars under $8.5k pay a 54% tariff. (48% for over $8.5k)

It is possible that the car has a beefy engine. In this case the engine volume is multiplied by 2.5.

Whichever number is higher is your tariff.

Example: Importing an average sized $7.8k worth car would cost you $12k including the tariffs.

If a similar car is between 3-5 years old, you'd pay $11.8k.

If it's 5-10 years old you'd pay $13.5k.

If it's 10-15 years old you'd pay $14.2k.

If it's over 15 years old you'd pay $15k.

Math is mine. If you find errors go sue my teachers.

https://youtu.be/9AMZWQOshMg

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997458.html

March 1st

Several former officials were charged with allegedly aiding Kocharyan to overthrow the Constitutional Order in 2008. Only the ringleader Kocharyan is jailed. Some travel restrictions were placed on the others.

Militaryman Yuri Khachaturov tried to cross the Georgian border few months ago. The NSS was monitoring his movements. They stopped and blocked him at the border. The same day the court ruled that Khachaturov could exit the country. Lawyer complains that the NSS knew but blocked him anyway.

Today the lawyer asked judge Anna Danibekyan to remove the travel ban from Yuri. The judge rejected because there are currently no travel bans on Yuri as part of the felony investigation that the judge is hearing.

The judge added that the court doesn't have the right to force the NSS to lift any other existing travel bans, and that the client can sue NSS if he thinks the agency acted illegally.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175276

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/175268

Judge harassment story - more details

Earlier we learned that two Kocharyan supporters followed the judge Anna Danibekyan (same judge as in above story) and harassed her for/after making a verdict that kept Kocharyan in jail. The activists were arrested after the judge reported them.

Investigators have finished the examination and said the following:

2 activists planned their actions ahead of time; found out when she was supposed to get out of a building in September 27th. They waited her outside of the judicial academy at 4:50pm. She came out. They started recording her. She exited from a back door to avoid them.

Later that day at 8:30pm, the same activists tracked her down in a park and begun following her. This was broadcasted live.

Felony case is launched. Both are charged with Code 332-1, preventing a judge from doing her work. Punishable by anywhere between 200x minimum wage and 4 years in prison.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175311

https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?docid=69646

A group of ARF activists went through a police line and stormed the Education Ministry building. They are still demanding Minister Arayik Harutyunyan to resign over the upcoming education reforms, which will give autonomy to universities to decide whether all students should be required to take Armenian language classes. The party referred to the minister as being against Armenian traditional values. They demand Armenian language to be taught to all university students, among with other demands.

Activists then shut down Vazgen Sargsyan Street. The police pushed them out. 24 people were briefly detained in a police station.

The activists threatened to follow the Minister around until he resigns. "We'll appear during your press conferences, we'll appear anywhere you travel", said the protesters.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175284

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175295

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175313

Police will travel around 1400 schools as part of an educational program in which they teach kids about preventing domestic violence, recognizing abuse, how to seek help, strengthening police-student trust to encourage any potential victims to come forward.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175303

Mariah Carey music

Sales jumped 50% during the Black Friday in Armenia, despite the fact it isn't an official tradition in the country. 9bln worth products were purchased on that day, says IRS.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175207

BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan accused Yerevan mayor Marutyan of botching investments by not allowing Gago's Arab friends to build a hotel and a hospital in the Yerevan center. Gago said the investors met Marutyan and architect Meschyan but were very disappointed. "Go ask Marutyan why it was rejected", said Tsarukyan when asked about why. The investor friend complained about the city not helping them with the hospital, which was supposed to be a "charity for the Armenian people".

https://youtu.be/nFn0wQSHdGE

https://youtu.be/EfdQQgkFA6U

Mayor Marutyan responded:

They called me to notify some people wanted to meet about investments. They wanted it on Sunday. We said OK, come at any time. Architect Meschyan also came. We met the investors. They offered to built a hotel and a hospital.

It isn't true that the hospital was a charity, it was for business. They wanted to built it in the Central district. They asked us to provide city-owned lands for it. We explained them that the Center is almost "full house", it's already dense. We showed them the map of our lands in the Center. We suggested them to built outside the center by making a deal with private land owners. We offered to help them in any way possible during this process.

We also offered them to invest in metro and underground parking projects as well. Then they begun receiving many phone calls in the middle of the meeting, and begun answering it one after another. We were patiently waiting. We got the impression that there was nothing else to discuss. We told them again that we would help them with the hospital, then we thanked them for the meeting. We asked them to contact us again. They haven't called back. We're still willing to help them if they wish.

As for the proposed $100mln hotel investment mentioned by Gago, he isn't telling the full story. Gago's hotel project was suspended because his neighbor sued him in court, and the court suspended it. Municipality has nothing to do with it.

To the contrary, we would like Gago to finish his construction and stop polluting the city with the construction materials. Moreover, Gago got a permit from the former mayor Taron Margaryan to build 1 story, but he illegally built 3, and no one from the former govt said anything about it. The process is currently suspended and is in court.

Another investment thing Gago mentioned was about social services he does in Abovyan city, and that Yerevan municipality allegedly failed his plans to do the same in Yerevan. We checked and there was never such request by Gago. We contacted BHK and let them know to send us an official petition. They didn't do it for a while. I helped them to write it. I told my employees to work on it. Our team told BHK we would give them a land for the project, and we invited them to come and hold talks. BHK hasn't responded since then.

Q: Why are you facing so much criticism recently from city's opposition blocs?

A: We managed to solve the huge garbage issue and they're mad about it.

https://youtu.be/WIwS6xkbD-8

Yerevan city's gifts from donors reached the Transparency International.

The institute released a statement saying they don't see any corruption by the officials, and that such donations are a common practice.

They also don't see any evidence of "pay for play", even though the donors had some projects that were approved recently. Trucks were also donated recently. (city's response about it is in my previous post)

The institute advised the city to publish donations and other data electronically for a better transparency.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/110562

Fitch upgraded Yerevan's rating to BB- and outlook to Stable.

http://arka.am/en/news/economy/fitch_upgrades_yerevan_s_rating_to_bb_and_outlook_to_stable/

"Plant an apple seed, and you'll get an apple tree", - Old Chinese proverb counterfeited from Americans through a smuggled flash drive in 409 BC.

What about it tho?

In Dec-2018 the NSS caught a policeman with taking a bribe in exchange for doing a "favor" to a person. Felony case was launched.

The trial has just finished. He has been sentenced to 4 years in prison.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997539.html

For the first time in 15 years the village Ranchpar has a new subsidized kindergarten for 25 kids. It'll have 8 employees. Parents will pay 6k/mo.

Diasporan donor ⭐ Mamikon Karapetyan ⭐ donated $340k and worked with the govt around the construction.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997522.html

Parliament rejected a QP bill that would prevent refugees from being charged with crime if they voluntarily turned themselves in upon entering Armenia illegally.

Vote 17-88-5.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997403.html

Parliament rejected a BHK bill that would pay house owners 25% over the market value as a compensation if their house is declared as being located on lands that are declared as being of public significance and are subject to "confiscation" for construction of important projects (see Northern Avenue case).

Govt believes the current 15% above-market compensation is fair.

Vote 40-67-1.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997402.html

QP made a U-turn in their earlier support to LHK bill that would allow NSS and Police chiefs to be "outsiders" from other agencies. They think parts of it is unconstitutional.

LHK called the explanation a BS and wanted more discussions.

QP Mirzoyan said he wouldn't want to see a QP-allied politically motivated person to be placed in charge of such an agency and then receive some promotions.

One QP MP agreed with LHK that NSS should be a Ministry (it already reports to Prime Minister).

Still discussing.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/110524

What social media apps do Yerevan residents use?

Facebook is used by 64% of people (up 2%)

Odnoklassniki 21% (down 3%)

Twitter 6%

LinkedIn 5% (down 1%)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997508.html

Nikol "Mavrodi" Pashinyan intensifies

The Thanksgiving day telethon collected $9.9mln. Pashinyan then launched a challenge to urge famous stars to make monthly "small" payments and challenge the same to 3 of their own friends.

The pyramid scheme is helping, according to the All Armenia Fund.

Donations have reached $10.2. Online donations went from 1500 on telethon day, to 3000 as of today. Every few minutes someone attempts to or successfully donates online.

"This is a process that continues, and it doesn't matter how big the individual donation is", says the Fund.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175320

Civil Aviation chief Revazyan says:

"Soon a new Armenian airlines firm could enter the market. They've already applied for a permit to become a national carrier. The company is encouraged with the changes to air code that encourages competition (ex: air tax waiver).

It'll have 41 flights per week. 388,000 seats per year. 200 new jobs within the next few months.

The proposed air tax waiver bill that is being discussed in the Parliament will give 3-5 year air tax waiver to firms that launch flights to airports around the world that are currently not connected to Armenia.

There is a requirement for the firm to fly the whole year and not just the summer peak season, and the tax waiver time has limits to make sure one firm (first applicant) doesn't get a long-term monopoly on tax waiver if they decide to launch dozens of new routes now."

A LHK MP suggested removing the Air Tax altogether for everybody, and not just for new routes. Cheif Revazyan agreed. A QP MP had some concerns about removing it.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175261

https://youtu.be/QKOhWHbhrKg

Conde Nast magazine: 20 best places to go in 2020.

Snippet: "Armenia is on its way to being one of next year’s most talked-about destinations, and there’s more to the tiny Caucasus nation than what makes the nightly news (or Kim Kardashian’s semi-regular visits). Ryanair will begin flying to Armenia in 2020, marking the first time..."

Full article in the original source

https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-places-to-go-in-2020

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175285

First organic wine made out of certified organic grape was produced in Armenia. There is an international market for organics, according to experts. Russia and China are the largest importers of Armenian wine.

Recently the Armenian wine was exported to Canada, Vietnman and Poland. They plan to send it to New York and Washington states soon.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997425.html

http://arka.am/en/news/business/china_is_second_biggest_importer_of_armenian_wine_/


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/e5oajg/anticorruption_news_tldrs_dec32019_national/


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