2019 January 21

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption Jan/21/2019: Preschool director steals food from children // NSS busts IRS agent // Kocharyan lawsuit, misleading video // Satellites begin catching land owners who avoid water bills // Insurance company busted avoiding 200mln // 21 post office employees // Public radio chief // MORE
by ar_david_hh

All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.

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Another "tushonka" story.

The director of Lapterik preschool has been arrested after police found evidence of embezzlement and abuse of power.

She allegedly stole part of the food dedicated to 120 children, and sent it to a restaurant owned by her family in Jrvej. The police found a batch of food in her office, that was scheduled to be sent to restaurant.

She also stole 13mln through falsifying documents about the number of employees, say authorities.

She is from a family of high ranking officials in various law enforcement bodies.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152821 ------ http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152827

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NSS (National Security Services) has found that an IRS employee colluded with businesses to help them avoid border customs duties, legal paperwork, safety checks.

We learned some info about this last week, when IRS chief said they changed the amount of brand new products you can import before being taxed. IRS justified this by saying that some businesses avoid taxation by distributing the load among several citizens, who each take certain amount of product into Armenia, then once on the other side of the border, they gather it all together and hand it to the business.

One customs duty employee, and one private citizen who abused the system to transport 1 tons of goods without taxation, have also been charged.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961520.html

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Kocharyan earlier sued 1in.am media outlet for defamation. The court has ruled that the media outlet must issue an apology and pay 400k to Kocharyan for writing that the commander of internal forces allegedly admitted that he received an order directly from Kocharyan to open fire towards the crowd on March 1st.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152840

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Ararat TV (5th channel), recently purchased by a Kocharyan ally, has released a misleading documentary about March 1st murders, containing false information and distortion of reality.

Clips were shown and taken out of context, says FIP. Documentary provided false information about Levon Ter-Petrosyan's (LTP) resignation reasons, his Artsakh negotiations, and Kocharyan's role in his resignation.

The documentary continued to portray LTP in a bad light as part of justifying Kocharyan's future actions. It suggested that a 2008 polling showed that LTP wasn't in the list of top 5 candidates in the presidential elections. In reality, even official polling contradicted this claim, and the survey used by the documentary was of a low quality, in which 60% of the respondents didn't want to say whom they were going to vote for.

Documentary portrayed Kocharyan as someone who did not care who the next president was going to be, while in reality he heavily backing Serj Sargsyan.

Provided one-sided coverage around the topic of Kocharyan's wealth and didn't press on the origins of his vast network of businesses https://armlur.am/224304/

Documentary claimed LTP gathered protests on February 19th while the 2008 elections weren't finished yet, while in reality the protests begun on February 20th, says FIP. (this is part of the attempt by the authors to picture Kocharyan's future use of force against sleeping protesters as justified)

The documentary misleads the viewers by suggesting that parts of the army were going to join LTP in organizing revolution, and that Kocharyan prevented it. The truth is, LTP spoke with military leaders to seek assurances that they will not go against the public and will stay out of public affairs. This speech by LTP is recorded on the video and is on YouTube, but in past, pro-Kocharyan propagandists have shown only the first part of this speech in past, attempting to portray as if LTP was asking Manvel Grigoryan and other generals to join LTP. Unfortunately, the army did not keep its promise to LTP to stay impartial.

Documentary cites misleading claims that the police had credible information about weapons in tents, where the peaceful protesters were sleeping, thus attempting to justify the illegal raids. Even Serzh's government had failed to conclusively prove this, while under the new administration, the new investigators found evidence that certain officials lied about the weapons.

Documentary continued to justify the raids on peaceful protesters sleeping in tents on 6:40AM on March 1st. In reality, the raids were illegal because the law prohibits raids at such an early time of the morning, and no proper documents were presented by the people who conducted the raids.

Documentary spreads false information about the sleeping early-morning protesters having other forms of non-lethal weapons in an attempt to justify the illegal raids, then the documentary shows videos from later that day, when the protesters did have metal sticks, in an attempt to prove the false claim. In reality, the protesters were armed by sticks and batons only later that day.

Documentary claims Pashinyan (who was an opposition voice at the time) and other opposition leaders were gathering protesters on front of the French Embassy. The wiretapped conversation shows these opposition leaders did not organize the protesters and instruct them to go there, and that they were joining the crowd which was already forming on its own.

In the documentary, Kocharyan misleadingly says that Pashinyan admitted to receiving instructions from LTP to change the protesting tactics, about forming barricades and confronting the authorities. FIP says Pashinyan did not say this.

The Documentary continues to draw a picture in which the lethal force would be justified against the crowd, by interviewing Kocharyan ally David Shahnazaryan (who earlier spread misinformation about QP member Sasun Mikaelyan and his Artsakh battles), who talks about burglary in several shops in Yerevan, and misleadingly blames Pashinyan's crowd for this.

... FIP says this incidents took place in a different area and those weren't member of LTP's protests. Later it was uncovered through courts that HHK's supporters were the participants of the thefts. (I wrote about it here few months ago).

Kocharyan claims in the documentary that when a police car was burned down, guns were stolen from the police officers. Records do not show any criminal cases against any protest participant about this alleged weapon theft.

FIP suggests that in the documentary, Kocharyan is lying about signing emergency situation after learning about wounded policemen and business burglaries. Kocharyan called a press conference at 22:15 to declare the emergency, but records show the burglaries and police casualties happened after the speech, not before.

FIP says there were various other incorrect and misleading parts in the documentary. The infamous 0038 order did not receive proper coverage, which was signed before the election results were published. Documentary twists international election monitor's words. The documentary doesn't properly cover the fact that the military was involved in the process.

Ararat TV (5th channel) was recently purchased by a Kocharyan ally www.civilnet.am/news/2018/08/18/Ով-է-«Արարատ»-հեռուստաընկերության-նոր-սեփականատերը/343353

During the production of this film, the authors interviewed the relatives of the victims of March 1st murders and politician Aram Manukayan, who wasn't aware that this was going to be a pro-Kocharyan propaganda piece.

Manukyan claims the authors contacted him on Fall, 2018 and asked him to give a few comments for an "unbiased documentary" which was supposed to talk only about the March 1st victims, and wasn't supposed to have a political nature.

The authors then lied to the interviewees, says Manukyan, who condemns "the propaganda piece" in which he was duped into participating.

https://fip.am/5786 -------- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152841 ------------ http://www.ilur.am/news/view/73033.html

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A former employee of the state oversight committee claims he has evidence of a multi-million dollar money laundering scheme conducted by the previous administration. He claims the laundering was done through Valdai Inc. during the construction of buildings for various Ministries.

He claims another large-scale embezzlement took place. Around $40 million were reserved for installing heating systems in 18,000 low income families. Only 3,000 received the services, while the rest of the money was stolen.

In another instance, he claims that millions of dollars were stolen through Yerevan TPP.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152809

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Few months ago, the government announced that it will use satellite images to find irrigated lands, compare them to the database of registered land owners who pay for water, and catch those who do not pay.

The system is now working. It uses GIS sensors to remotely detect the amount of water in a plant, then maps that area as irrigated. The government then adds another layer to the map, showing areas where the owners are currently paying for water. The areas should match. The ones that don't, become a subject of investigation.

Several cheaters have been caught so far, and 5,200 new irrigation contracts have been signed. In a few months, the imaging will cover the whole country and will be updated every 10 days.

iDGMxiu.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQihhkw9eaQ

http://www.seos-project.eu/modules/agriculture/agriculture-c01-p06.html

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Yerevan municipality's Luys fraction has asked the mayor to release employee bonus (premiums) payment data for transparency. The mayor has sent the request to Ministry of Justice to assure publishing names and other data isn't against a law protecting employee privacy.

Two province governors have published their data, showing year-end bonuses being legal, says the opposition Luys member. "It is expected that bonuses are higher in Yerevan due to bigger budget". The governors payed the bonuses from funds saved by theirs offices.

Some argue the governors should not be allowed to give themselves bonuses. Others argue that the bonuses are necessary for a staff with a good performance because the salaries are low. Others argue there should be limits, even if the funds are coming from money that was saved.

https://news.am/arm/news/491615.html - - - - - - https://news.am/arm/news/491542.html ----------- https://news.am/arm/news/491620.html ---- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152804 ----- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961530.html ----- http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/264537/

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Syunik governor denies media rumors that he only rewarded the employees close to him, releases data saying all employees received bonuses. The office saved money throughout the year, then used part of it to provide bonuses, and at the end had 8.8mln left in savings, which was transferred to state budget.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/264535/

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Vayots Dzor governor talks about bonuses. Only the employees with at least 6 month experience qualified for bonuses. His aides and himself did not receive a bonus. The other staff received bonuses equaling 30% of salary. He sees an attempt by certain individuals on social media to try to incorrectly pass this as an example of a corruption.

https://factor.am/116983.html

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Mayor Marutyan says he hasn't issued a bonus to himself, and is open to reviewing the process and place more strict limitations on who and how much can receive it.

Mayor says they're in process of recording which elevators need a replacement in the city. Around 3,800 have been identified. It'll take up to 3 years to finish the replacement process.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961534.html

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IRS and Police released a report saying that Nairi Insurance company deliberately avoided 200mln in taxes on 2016-2017. The company is accused of laundering the money through its former employees and other entities affiliated to them, with the intention of showing less revenue.

Criminal case is launched. They're still counting the damage.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961436.html

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The authorities have concluded the investigation of the massive social security corruption scheme in Stepanavan.

21 HayPost post office employees participated in the criminal enterprise. 11 of them were mail delivery employees, 9 high ranking operators, 1 logistics operator. In addition, dozens of social security services employees were charged with various crimes. Two high ranking officials are on the run.

6 cars, 35 houses and 18 bank accounts and assets have been frozen as part of recovering the 550mln damage to the state.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961511.html

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An investigation has been launched against the former chief of public radio, Mark Grigoryan. He is suspected of abuse of power. He quit a month ago after the radio employees signed a petitions demanding his resignation.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152673

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Mayor Marutyan held talks with European Daimler Bus (aka Mercedes-Benz) company to familiarize with various options (city plans to revamp the bus network). The company has expressed interest in doing business. It has vehicles operating on liquid gas, fully electric and hybrid.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961380.html

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Mayor says his office closely cooperates with the police. They stopped 9 illegal constructions last week. In two cases, the citizens have begun destroying the structures voluntarily.

More checks will be conducted during the evening time to prevent illegal open food trade on the streets. Mayor says they've seen a noticeable results since January 16th. During a routine check, they found one instance of child labor. The traders are referred to areas where they can conduct business legally.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961529.html

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Mayor Marutyan says the city itself will "compete" against the street cleaning company Sanitek until 2 new competitors are introduced, after Sanitek failed to provide its (garbage collection and) snow cleaning duties promptly. The city purchased KamAz Russian trucks designed to spray salt and plow snow in the winter, and to water the streets in the summer.

Years ago, Sanitek won the exclusive license through legal irregularities (their competitor was themselves) to be the only sanitation business doing the work with the city.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/264549/

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PM Pashinyan is in Switzerland. He held talks with business representatives. One of them presented an investment plan in the energy sector. They were referred to Ministry of Energy for further talks.

PM also spoke with the Swiss-Armenian investor Vardan Armakesh, the founder of Franck Mueller Swiss watches.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961491.html ----- (full speech https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961506.html)

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Fuel prices fell by AMD 40 recently, as reported earlier. A fuel importer says it is due to a worldwide trend of price reduction, and that in near future it will go down by another 50 AMD.

In past, duel prices would stay relatively the same even when the world prices were decreasing. In another report few weeks ago, another fuel importer said the price decrease was due to an increased competition among importers.

https://factor.am/116721.html

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Health Minister and IRS have agreed to replace the product labels with a safer non-toxic material. The new labels will stick stronger to the product. This is done because some children rip them off and swallow.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961537.html ----------- https://www.facebook.com/ATorosyanOfficial/photos/a.379672092219062/860794554106811/?type=3&theater

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Zaruhi Batoyan will replace Mane Tandilyan (now an MP) as the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. The other ministers have been re-appointed.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/152742

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US president Trump has congratulated PM Pashinyan with the election. Expressed willingness to improve economic, security, anti-corruption cooperation. The resolution of Artsakh conflict will help these efforts, said Trump.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961350.html

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European PACE has held a session, during which they concluded that the December Parliamentary elections in Armenia were "free and democratic".

Notable improvements were the pre-election transparency, and the 3-hour long live debates between party leaders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961513.html

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Armenia has a new ambassador in Belarus. President Lukashenko said "Armenia continues to be a reliable partner to Belarus in the economic and defense cooperation".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961459.html

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The United Kingdom has officially ratified the EU-ARM cooperation agreement. It joined the list of Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxmeburg, Malta, Poland.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961481.html

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Turlish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan gave an interview to H1 news. Spoke about Turkish Code 301 which was used to persecute journalist Hrant Dink, and now it is used to go after him for allegedly insulting the Turkish state. He denies insulting, says his words are to be interpreted as an opposition figure's dissatisfaction with the government. Says he will continue to advocate for peace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWfqoJiye74

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Karen Grigoryan finishes second in Spanish international chess competition Seville Open

https://www.a1plus.am/1657853.html

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Levon Aghasyan wins Gold in an international athletics competitions held in Kazakhstan

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961431.html

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Tennis star Serena Williams, the wife of Reddit co-founder and popcorn 🍿 distribution kingpin Kn0thing, has begun studying Armenian language and culture.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961449.html

....

Alexis Ohanian recommends consuming his Armenian brandy with an apricot

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/961526.html

Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/aifgz2/anticorruption_jan212019_preschool_director/

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