2019 December 4
Anti-Corruption & News TLDRs - Dec/4/2019 :: Several high ranking officials charged _ President Serj _ Deputy minister _ Cadastre _ Colonel :: All-Armenia Fund stats :: BHK vs Mayor _ Gago's hotel :: Pashinyan & Parliament bills :: Foreign Affairs :: more inside
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.
👁NSS👁 has busted the Deputy Minister of Education/Sports/Culture Ministry, his driver, a the president of Lokomotiv soccer club who also serves as a chief of a firm that delivers products to govt, with bribery.
Deputy Minister Gevorg Loretsyan (current administration) used his driver as a middle man to make a corrupt deal with the soccer official to prioritize the latter's business for item purchases.
The ring was busted while making the bribe transaction.
The felony investigation continues.
3rd president Serj Sargsyan has been charged with aiding and embezzling 0.5bln. He is told not to leave the country. Several other officials are implicated. HHK called it a "political persecution".
SIS report says:
In Jan-2013 the govt approved the agricultural aid program to subsidize fuel prices for farmers for the Spring harvest season.
Fuel firms Flash (owner is reportedly friends with Serj) and Maxhur participated in a govt auction.
Maxhur offered to sell the fuel to govt for the cheaper price. Serj knew that Flash was offering it for higher prices, but instructed his subordinates to make sure Flash wins the auction, for personal benefit.
A month later the govt gave Flash 1.8bln to distribute fuel to farmers.
Some of the purchased fuel was not used. Govt decided to keep it under Flash's possession so it can give it to farmers during the Autumn harvest.
During the Autumn harvest, govt paid Flash again to purchase fuel.
Felony case is launched.
Vernatun statement coming in 3, 2, 1...
HHK MP Vahram Baghdasaryan's factory's property price was purposely reduced to avoid taxes, says the police.
In 2005 an independent firm valued VABA firm's property as being worth 130mln.
In 2009 the Cadastre committee officials falsified its value by claiming it's worth less than 40mln. This way the firm paid 4.5x less in taxes, which converted into 1bln in unpaid taxes.
Felony case is launched against Cadastre officials.
The court issued a 2-month arrest verdict for the former HHK MP prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan. He is charged as part of the March 1st investigation.
Investigators earlier released a lengthy report of how the former regime deployed the army then took steps to cover-up. Kostanyan was mentioned as being one of the key players, the handler, who allegedly coordinated various law enforcement agencies to cover up crimes and purge evidence.
Kostanyan is currently in Russia.
Pashinyan: Some officials who are currently wanted by the police were allowed to freely exit Armenia, even though they - and everyone else - knew at that time that they were going to be arrested. Nonetheless, they weren't stopped at the border because at the time the law enforcement didn't have a permission. The criticism of allowing people to get away in this manner is of a political nature. The law enforcement has to act legally.
The former military police chief of Gyumri has been charged with bribery.
Investigators say in 2014 Colonel Muradyan helped his friend's son, who was wanted by the Russian police, to freely enter Armenia by closing the eye on it, in exchange for a 22.1mln bribe.
He then helped the fugitive, a Russian citizen, to obtain an Armenian passport and faked his travel stamps.
For the next 2 years the official allowed the fugitive to use his house as a hiding place.
Felony case is launched.
Pashinyan about ARF protests:
"Չուք չաք, չարաք, չաք, գնացքի մասին մի այսպիսի երգ կար, հեռացող գնացքի անիվների տրոփյունն ենք ընդամենը լսում."
The education reform protests aren't by "students", they are by ARF. ARF was one of the pillars of the former corrupt regime. If the party members don't recognize what the party leadership was doing under the former regime, this party won't have a future.
Education reforms are government's agenda, not just Education Ministry's. If there are suggestions, they needs to be heard, and if there are mistakes they need to be admitted.
The former chief of All-Armenia charity fund was arrested last year after authorities discovered he was stealing donation money. He admitted to wasting it on gambling. He was released, then arrested again after more charges were pressed due to new evidence.
He allegedly stole 150mln from a project meant to be done in Artsakh.
Today he posted a 10mln bail and was released.
(All-Armenia Fund has a new management.)
You shouldn't compare donation levels to All-Armenia Fund with the past years.
In 2008, $35mln donation pledges were made publicly but only $9mln was received. (also $12mln promised last year but received ~$9mln)
In past, the emphasis was on using the fund's resources to go after some oligarchs and beg them for money. In some cases they even threatened people to donate. In other cases they told these few rich people to at least publicly make pledges with no intention to pay (to inflate numbers).
Now we want the All-Armenia Fund to truly become all-Armenia. In its entire existence, it only collected $350mln. This is ridiculously little.
Some of the repeated donors are honest and have no connection with the aforementioned pressures, but you can't forever expect them to donate.
Now the emphasis is on reaching a higher number of smaller donors.
End of Pashinyan speech.
Artsakh's largest Hayrenik Party MPs joined Pashinyan's pyramid scheme and will each donate $20/mo to the All-Armemeia fund.
Where did the All-Armenia donations come from?
Tashir Group firm: $1.5mln
2017: 3240 telethon donations
2019: 9644 telethon donations
Police says they busted several police officials with causing 1.3mln damage to budget by not letting anyone know that their colleague was serving a jail time in Russia for 10 months.
A police official traveled to Russia in May-2018, did some bribery, got arrested and served 10 months in Russia, came back to Armenia and cashed-in his checks.
An Azeri woman Aysel Mustafayeva made a video addressed to president Aliyev in which she informed about buying a ticket to move to Armenia soon, due to "unbearable conditions and injustice" in Azerbaijan. She complained about no response by the authorities around some issue for several years. She was arrested by security services earlier for trying to get close to Aliyev to ask him for help.
This isn't the first time she said she would move to Armenia, but it appears this time she has purchased a ticket dated for December 5th.
Ilham Aliyev's wife VP Mehriban Pashayeva earlier said her dream is to listen to mugham in Artsakh.
1st lady Anna Hakobyan (later joined by Artsakh president's spokesman) today invited Mehriban to visit Artsakh as a guest.
"Artsakh knows hospitality. One of the rules is to play the music that a guest wants to hear. We can play mugham. If Mehriban accepts this invitation, I'd be willing to visit Baku. But if Mehriban meant to listen to mugham after invading Artsakh, then her wish won't happen", said Hakobyan.
Full story inside https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/175366
BHK chief Dodi Gago earlier accused Yerevan mayor Hayko Marutyan of not allowing a hotel and a hospital to be built in Yerevan center by an Arab sheikh.
Marutyan addressed the reasons why the foreign investor's plan didn't go through. He also revealed that the hotel Gago was trying to build was being built illegally and was permitted by the previous administration, and that it was suspended by the court.
Dodi Gago fired back showing a document which showed Marutyan's signature under a document. He claiming Marutyan gave him the construction permission, not the previous mayor.
The municipality responded by mocking Dodi Gago for "not knowing the difference between a construction permit and a design permit". (Gago's document showed the latter)
Yerevan municipality released more details about Gago's unfinished hotel:
In Feb-16-2017, the former mayor Taron Margaryan gave a permit to Gago (aka his Multi Group firm) to build the hotel.
Few days later his neighbor sued Gago and had the construction halted.
A year later, during the June-July 2018 political turmoil, Gago took advantage of the situation and decided to illegally build the structure, thinking no one would notice.
At one point, before Hayk Marutyan became the mayor, Gago was fined 200k for the violation. He was then fined 2mln. After the second violation the case was sent to the law enforcement.
Parliament MPs also discussed Gago's recent statements about the hotel and hospital. He took some heat. BHK fired back.
BHK decided to organize a "political boycott" by leaving the Parliament building.
Gago criticized the բոլոլա around his name, telling the critics to "knock it off". A confrontation happened between him and journalists.
During a Q&A in Parliament, Pashinyan was asked to comment BHK Dodi Gago's claims about Yerevan municipality not allowing royal sheikhs to invest to open a hospital.
I'm not entirely sure they were royal sheikhs or their representatives, tbh. If they were UAE sheikh's official delegates, they wouldn't need to call Gago first to ask him to schedule meetings with the mayor. Delegates can easily use official channels to organize meetings.
It was strange that sheikh's delegates would appear to a business meeting with sneakers, jeans and t-shirts. They asked for land in the Center of Yerevan. Mayor responded telling that the city doesn't own such large lands suited for a hospital in the center. Mayor offered to help if they purchased a land from a private land owner elsewhere. The discussions were interrupted repeatedly when the guests begun taking calls one after another. Mayor realized there isn't much else to discuss. I think he handled it right.
I also find it suspicious that Gago begun throwing these accusations about ruined investments soon after Gago's Multi Group's director was charged with felony embezzlement during the North-South highway project.
North-South project was a good investment project, too, but they "milked" it. Now we're cutting their (corruptionaires) paws one-by-one.
End of Pashinyan speech.
UAE embassy released a statement clarifying that the aforementioned investor was not a sheikh's royal heir.
It's a complicated story...
2 days ago a soldier was killed and another one wounded in Artsakh's north-eastern border. Today the parents gathered outside of Parliament to demand answers.
Security committee chief said the investigation isn't over yet but he has info that the incident is being treated as a murder and not a combat death.
The parents ended the protest.
The investigative committee released an official statement saying they are treating it as a murder and attempted murder.
Several soldiers were questioned. Cell phone and CCTV records are being examined.
Figure skater Anastasia Galustyan won the international "Santa Claus Cup" competition held in Budapest.
Parliament rejected the LHK bill that would allow the heads of NSS and Police to be appointed from "outside". The idea was that these agencies have deep problems, and the current law, which requires the chiefs to be from the agency's high ranking board, won't allow big reforms.
The bill would effectively declare the chiefs of these agencies as being "political figures".
Although the bill was passed during the first vote, it was then sent to the Legal committee which found problems with the bill.
Pashinyan said the problem with the bill is that the chiefs in these institutes have "military ranks". If the bill is passed, they would either need to be stripped of their ranks to become "political" chiefs, or the outsider non-ranked candidates would need to be given military ranks out of the blue to become chiefs of these institutes.
QP's official stance is that the bill would violate the Constitution due to some terminology.
Parliament passed a govt bill to hand over the control of country's medical system and facilities, including private, under Healthcare Ministry control in the event of war.
Parliament passed a govt bill to pay the utility bills for (not a large number of) lonely pensionaires living in special apartments. Their income isn't enough to pay for electricity, gas etc. so they were accumulating debt.
Parliament passed a govt bill to give a 3-5 year air tax waiver to airline companies that launch flights to new destinations.
President Sarkissian accepted guests from Microsoft and Synopsis who visited for a Silicone Mountain tech conference in Armenia. They discussed cooperation and next year's ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) tech conference that will be held in Armenia. 300 Chinese businessmen are expected to arrive.
Ireland has ratified the EU-AM comprehensive cooperation agreement
Armenia had its first ever participation in London-based Foreign Direct Investments expo. They presented an electronic platform, created by UN and Economy Ministry, which allows foreign investors to easily learn about 18 types of rules and regulations in Armenia.
Armenia sent 80 tons of aid to Armenian diaspora in Syria.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/e664gw/anticorruption_news_tldrs_dec42019_several_high/
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