2019 February 13
Anti-Corruption Feb/13/2019: Կծիկը բացվում է; Rob/Serj implicated in bribery case, Transitional justice, Asset forfeiture, more fighter jets, Serj's nephew's murder case,
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Serj's nephew Hayk "Gonzalez" Sargsyan will soon be extradited after being caught in Prague. He is accused of an attempted murder.
The victim "Կենտրոնի Կյաժ" David Simonyan gave a false testimony 11 years ago, blaming another man for the shooting, but now has came forward with a letter to police chief Osipyan.
Simonyan, Gonzalez and a man named Arthur were arguing over sharing marijuana on 2007. Gonzalez was under the influence of drugs, and threatened to kill Simonyan with a gun, and fired once towards him.
Arthur took the gun away from Gonzales so the latter wouldn't do more harm to Simonyan. Then Gonzalez's brother Narek came down from the upper floor and asked who shot Simonyan. Gonzalez said he did. Then all three took Simonyan to the hospital where his was operated. Narek and Gonzalez then allegedly threatened to kill Simonyan if he told the police that Gonzales shot him.
Then came the police, and Simonyan told them that it was Arthur who shot him. Simonyan says that Serj's brother Sashik (Gonzalez' and Narek's father) found out about this and used his connections to keep the brothers out of legal trouble. Arthur, the man who was wrongly accused, was let go two days later.
Simonyan says he has suffered from disabilities for 10 years and has been afraid to speak up about the truth, until the new government came to power and brought justice.
The former March 1st investigator was earlier charged with abuse of power and several other offenses. Later, additional charges were pressed and a new trial was set.
During this second trial, the judge did not properly inform the defense about the date and time of the hearing. The Judicial Disciplinary Committee has issued a disciplinary warning to judge Artush Gabrielyan for violating the defendant's rights.
We are learning more corruption details from Silva Hamabardzumyan, the businesswoman who went rogue and exposed the former HHK MP and Nature Minister and several others.
She says: She was questioned as part of the March 1st investigation, and admitted that on 2008 she gave $2mln to businessman Samvel Mayrapetyan (Rob's ally, arrested for bribery, sent to Germany for medical treatment), so Mayrapetyan could transfer the money to Serj Sargsyan, Robert Kocharyan and Rob's former chief of staff Armen Grigoryan (the guy who pressured Constitutional Court judge to validate Serj as president on 2008, per US embassy cables).
Silva Hambardzumyan's questioning took place on October 2018 during a March 1st investigation. The investigators, who were investigating businessman Mayrapetyan, found that she sent businessman Mayrapetyan $2mln, and wanted to know why. She told the instigators that it's unrelated to March 1st. She says the unsolicited bribe was sent to Rob and Serj so they wouldn't "cause problems" for one of her businesses.
Investigators asked what made her think that the PM, president and aide would cause problems for her, but she avoided answering it, only saying that the money was sent to Rob, Serj and Grigoryan, and that Hayrapetyan acted as a middle man.
Pashinyan is being grilled by the Parliament again:
LHK MP Babajanyan asked if Armenia would have to sell infrastructure to Russia (as done during Kocharyan years) to pay off the debt that will accumulate because of the $15 gas price hike. Pashinyan denied, repeating that Gazprom's Armenian branch Gazprom-Armenia will take the financial hit, partially though optimizations and cutting losses, as agreed upon for 2019.
(Last year the Parliamentary gas price commission found that despite years of improvements in technologies, Gazprom-Armenia's gas loss numbers were suspiciously increasing on the paper. The cost of this loss is transferred to the Armenian buyers.)
It turns out Pashinyan was being serious about the transitional justice system.
He plans to return the stolen funds and property to the state by implementing Asset Forfeiture rules, which will allow the law enforcement to seize the dishonestly obtained properties owned by the plunderers, until they are able to show the legitimacy of transactions and evidence which shows they legally obtained the property/funds.
European Court for Human Rights has ruled the practice to be legal and not a violation of human rights, says Pashinyan.
(The practice is commonly used in other nations to seize assets belonging to drug cartels and other organized crimes, before the authorities are able to take the suspects to court and get a conviction.)
Pashinyan: The government (PM's office) will not form any courts for the transitional justice system. In necessary, things of that nature should be done by the Parliament.
Justice Minister: There won't be courts that judge the existing courts. The system will meet the European Court and Armenian Constitution demands. Similar transitional justice systems were implemented in Georgia, Ukraine and Albania.
Pashinyan also wants to find out why some companies invite and hire foreign workers instead of locals to do construction works in provinces.
Pashinyan says the government will not compromise when it comes to tax dodging businesses, and that includes individuals/businesses that avoid the tax system by splitting their load into 50KG pieces before importing them one piece at a time for free.
To combat this, the law was recently changed to lower the amount of products you can import before being taxed. Some importers have complained and threatened to protest. PM says his administration won't negotiate with dishonest businesses representatives who claim to be ordinary citizens. He it's one thing if a person travels abroad then brings new products for personal consumption, but another thing when people abuse the system to hide taxes.
PM has encouraged these businesses to "end the deceptive practices", to admit they are doing a business, and to discuss with the government on how to make business easier for them, instead of breaking the law.
PM also sharply criticized the street food merchants, who accused the government of unfair treatment. He said no one wants to see the Yerevan Center streets turn into Istanbul bazaar. (Earlier several street vendors held a protest outside of government's building demanding Yerevan mayor to end the ban on street trading. The municipality offered to subsidy their move to licensed markets for several months, but many have refused.)
Former Syunik governor Surik "Liska" Khachatryan's son Trdat was earlier charged with falsifying documents and avoiding military draft. The court has just told him to stay in the country.
Trdat asked the Defense Minister to let him voluntarily join the army, but the Minister told him to wait until the legal investigation is over.
Gyumri School 37 director is charged with multiple counts of bribery and corruption, after witnesses came forward and report a crime to the police.
The director is accused of taking bribes from teachers for several years, selling them items that were supposed to be free, falsifying documents, between 2013-2018.
Crime stats in military 2018 vs 2017: Very heavy crime down 46%, heavy crime up 8%, overall crime down 5.5%, body injuries down 35%, severe body injuries down 50%. Repeated offenses down 62%, solved cases remained the same at 97%.
57% more corruption investigations.
Pashinyan provides details about the defaulted Alaverdi copper mine and its dispute with the a creditor bank VTB.
On May of 2018, Alaverdi copper factory and its mine had filed for a bankruptcy, after taking $360mln loan from the bank earlier, with the helpd of the previous government. The bank wanted its money, the company didn't have it, the company shut down. Pashinyan administration helped the two sides to negotiate a deal, which would keep the factory working under the bank's administration while the mine would be operated by another company.
All sides agreed and it seemed that things would be resolved. Pashinyan says a strange thing happened afterwards. Some company came forward and sued the process to halt it, because it had a $4,000 in unpaid fees by the Alaverdi factory. A multi-hundred million dollar deal was stopped by the court because of $4,000.
The new mining company that was supposed to work with VTB didn't like this and withdrew from the process. Now the negotiations have to start over. Pashinyan says his administration cannot pressure the court to speed up the process.
Defense Minister Tonoyan: Armenia will buy more Su-30SM fighter jets from Russia after these 4 are delivered.
Trade with Belarus has increased by 17% on 2018
Armenians are celebrating Trndez
A Turkish man was sentenced to a probation and a mandatory reading of pro-Erdogan books, after he was found guilty of cursing president Erdogan.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/aqbqje/anticorruption_feb132019_կծիկը_բացվում_է_robserj/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|