2019 May 6

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption May/6/2019: 2.5bln bust in tunnel construction... Earthquake housing aid charges... SPAYKA CEO repays 1bln, detention lifted... Vayots Dzor busts up 4x.... A mayor & school director charged with embezzlement.... US to increase aid by $16mln... Social programs.... more inside
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.

2.5bln in damages were done to the state during the repair construction of Arpa-Sevan tunnel, and few other instances, say prosecutors.

A 11.8bln repair contract was signed between a government agency and a firm in 2010. In 2017, a 5bln repair contract was signed between another government water committee and the same firm. The prosecutors have found that construction records have been falsified to exaggerate numbers with the purpose of stealing funds.

Another illegal construction and land deal took place in 2006, says prosecutors.

In 2012, the law enforcement found that a private company was illegally using buildings built for the government by taxpayer money. Despite this, public officials at a water committee failed to do their duties to register the property under government's possession. 390mln in damages was done.


After an insider came forward with information of corruption, prosecutors are pressing felony charges against 3 Gyumri municipality and 1 Shirak governor's office employees.

The officials are accused of abuse of power for personal gain during the distribution of housing for the survivors of the 1988 Earthquake. They distributed multiple houses to same families, didn't dismantle the temporary shelters, falsified documents.


Kocharyan-Ohanyan-Khachaturov-Gevorgyan lawsuit relating March 1st had earlier entered the court system and was assigned to a judge through a lottery drawing. The judge has just recused himself. He used to be a lawyer representing March 1st (anti-regime) defendants in past. A new judge has been picked by the computer.


SPAYKA CEO has repaid 1bln in stolen/unpaid fees and cooperated with the law enforcement. The IRS has made a decision to release him from detention while the investigation continues. He was arrested earlier after second audits showed the company hid revenue to avoid billions in taxes.


In the past year, Vayots Dzor provincial law enforcement has uncovered 4x as many cases relating damages done to the state, compared to 2017. Over half of the cases were corruption related. Almost half of the suspects were high ranking public officials.


Famous Olympics champion and QP MP Arsen Julfalakyan denies beating anyone, after a man says he was beaten by him and his (coach) father near his garage. Julfalakyan says the 3 of them were having a heated business discussion with the man, who felt bad due to high blood pressure and they had to call an ambulance for him. The man was later examined at a hospital and found to have a bruise on his head before being discharged. He told the doctors that Julfalakyans hit him.

Journalists tried to contact the man but couldn't reach him. His neighbors spoke with a negative tone about him.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160701 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160705 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160710 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160748 ---

Former mayor of Basen, Shirak is charged with felony embezzlement. He is accused of creating a personal foundation then sending public funds to his foundation, also stealing 3.2mln by deducing public funds for aid for low income residents.

Akhuryan School N1 director is also facing felony charges for allegedly registering his relatives and friends as employees who never went to work but received salaries.


BHK leader Tsarukyan has responded to the letters urging him to explain the connection between his business and his political actions (cement story). In his letter, Tsarukyan denies breaking a law or having a conflict of interest. A non-Parliamentary party earlier wrote an open letter accusing Tsarukyan of using his political power to benefit his cement business.


Yerevan municipality has finished April with 1bln more finances than same time last year. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160762

Yerevan municipality's new administration earlier announced that they'll be changing lease terms (or possibly evicting) dozens of organizations (businesses, media organizations, others) from a building in the center of the city which was being leased for pennies, despite being in an expensive area. New revelations show that some tenants were renting the areas for as little as 260k Drams per year.


Technologies & Science Dynamics moved its ArmTabs and ArmPhone production to Armenia on 2013. Few years later, Armenia signed a trade deal with Russia-led EAEU. On 2015, the Armenian government didn't sign one of the certification agreements with Russia, which would allow the tablets to be exported to EAEU, which is why the company is on the brink of bankruptcy now. Only 15 employees are left out of 150.

On March 2019, the Technology Ministry contacted Russian colleagues to find out what the legal procedures are to solve the problem. The company says the whole process can take several week if there is a mutual cooperation, but the company would need more time to recover from this.


The United States will increase its aid to Armenia by $16mln. US delegation met Pashinyan and Speaker Mirzoyan, expressed support for strengthening the institutions and democracy.


The government will issue a one-time 250k aid package to the victims of human trafficking, and 150k to domestic violence victims.

1.3bln debt owed by former inmates and their legal representatives will be annulled as an attempt to ease their financial situation.

84,000 senior citizens, disabled, and families who lost the primary bread-winners, have already had their pensions increased.


Update: Earlier the Health Ministry announced that they'll establish universal healthcare in Armenia in a few years. With the help of an organization and an international bank, they have begun examining and creating a database of medicine and medical procedure costs.


President Sarkissian was in UAE on January, met government members and invited them to Armenia for investments. UAE delegation visited Yerevan on weekend, welcomed the noticeable improvement in the relations in recent years. UAE tourist flow to Armenia increased from 7.7k to 11.1k on 2018 vs 2017. 21.9k Armenians visited UAE on 2017.

A cooperation memorandum was signed between Armenian Central Bank and Abu-Dhabi International Market, and between Armenian and UAE journalists.


Another domestic beer producer will enter the market next year. Ararat Group plans to triple its employees (+250 workers) to expand the water production business to also make beer on 2020. 80% of products are exported overseas.


2019Q1 vs 2018Q1: Physical violence against children is reduced by a third. Beatings are cut in half. Other forms of violence in also down.


Anti-vaccers lighting the internet up on fire. 💉

Few days ago the Health Ministry criticized media outlets for spreading rumors that school-children were being forcefully vaccinated. It turns out the rumors begun when two girls decided to use the vaccine excuse to skip classes.

The Minister also criticized a government medical investigatory body for "falling for the misinformation".



In another public scare fake news, the police investigated and found that the rumors about someone poisoning kids with laced candies in Gegharquniq, were false. Lab examination revealed no toxic substances in the candies.


The Japanese embassy and a firm sent a $14.5mln gift in the shape of 50 emergency rescue vehicles. $1.3mln will be given to help digitize tapes from public TV archives.


Judoist Susanna Stepanyan wins gold medal in European youth cup. 222 participants from 28 countries.


Electro comes to Garni.

French Cercle Music DJs gave a concert in Garni Temple on May 6th. The group gets millions of viewers on YouTube, and can help to boost tourism. 30% of ticket buyers were from foreign countries.

Concert https://www.facebook.com/cerclemusic/videos/355190731796893/ ---- Before the concert https://factor.am/147553.html -- https://twitter.com/CercleMusic/status/1122818210091413504

--- https://www.facebook.com/events/399266190910694/

The US Congress has approved Jeff Harrigian as the commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa. He'll also serve as the commander of NATO's Allied Air Command. He has been promoted to a 4-star General. https://ac.nato.int/archive/2019/general-harrigian-new-commander-of-allied-air-command

Azeri editorial analysis on what's going on in the oil affairs in the neighborhood.


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/blgj6u/anticorruption_may62019_25bln_bust_in_tunnel/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports








2019 Daily Armenia Reports