2019 November 1
Anti-Corruption & News Summary - Nov/1/2019 :: Huge media investigation reveals Zangezur mining owners -- Serj's friends -- NSS Arthur Vanetsyan's family ties :: Serj's nephew's gun incident :: Istanbul convention :: USA :: March 1:: MP's sis :: Zoo :: Prison food :: Factories :: Social services
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.
Guns and Roses
After the revolution, a man came forward and testified that years ago he was pressured by Serj's family to admit to shooting a man. The shooting was allegedly done by Serj's nephew Narek Sargsyan.
Narek Sargsyan was charged. Today his trial continued.
Reports say so far:
Narek got high and shot a friend then panicked. Called his father (Serj's bro) Alexander Sargsyan. Alexander came and pressured a 3rd friend to take the blame on himself. Friend refused.
Narek Sargsyan took him in a basement and made threats, saying they will set up multiple murders on him if he refuses to cooperate. Friend agreed to accept the guilt. Police officers came, threw a few bullet shells in a different location to fake a crime scene, after which he went to police and admitted guilt. End of reports.
The story isn't over yet...
Venice Commission earlier said the Istanbul Convention (anti domestic abuse law) is in line with Armenian Constitution, and does not require Armenia to create new genders and stuff like that. It purposely has a broad definition of "spouse" so it'll cover as many potential domestic abuse scenarios as possible, but it doesn't mandate Armenia to change its spouse laws.
This, however, did not stop the self-proclaimed traditionalist politicians and activists from beating the drums and warning the public about how gay they will become if the Convention is passed. (Will YOU become gay? Leave your comments in the section below.)
BHK MP Gevorg Petrosyan, a group called "Kamq", and Roboserj VETO activists, held a protest to demand the Parliament to reject the Convention. The MP cites redundancy as being one of the reasons, saying it isn't necessary because the current law is good enough.
Another reason the MP finds the Convention "unacceptable" is because it uses the term "partner" instead of "wife and husband". He believes it's anti-Armenian. "When a husband and wife walk on the streets of Europe and someone insults the wife, the husband runs away with a smile. But Armenians are more traditional people.", said the MP. (What does it have to do with household members beating one another?)
"Constitution says only man and woman can marry", said MP. (what about those who aren't officially married? Can't they be in a domestic dispute?)
The MP then accused the Parliamentary committee of secretly placing the bill into circulation. The Parliament's Legal Committee chief denied the accusation, explaining that in order for the bill to reach Parliament floor it first has to go through Govt and Constitutional Court.
Committee chief: I don't understand why such a fuss about the bill. Armenia has passed more controversial things in past.
A brief history of how the government has been making Armenian people gay.
In 2013, the govt passed a bill that was criticized by some for defining gender as something that is "acquired".
In 2017, govt found itself in hot water for trying to pass a bill to outlaw domestic abuse. At the time, Russia-backed organizations, some of them being funded by known propagandists with direct ties to Kremlin, launched a coordinated smear campaign to influence the Armenian politics, as an example example, by fear-mongering the general population into thinking their kids will be taken away easily if the bill is passed.
21 US Senators (from both D & R) are in favor of having a House-style resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The bill was submitted to Senate in April-2019.
ANCA is on it. They'll meet Senators. "Senate is more complex and it's hard to say when they'll hold a hearing."
(I'm buying Kanye merch if they do it. It's a bribe.)
Turkish media is crediting Kim Kardashyan for being behind the recognition of Genocide by House. She met many MPs before the voting was held. The MP Spierce referred to Kardashyan as "Armenia's secret weapon".
Remember the CBS show about military SEALs team going to defend Azerbaijan presumably against "Armenian separatists and Iranian militias", with an ending twist that said it was only Iranians militias?
Armenian consulate in LA is making some phone calls and wants to talk to CBS administration. Apparently a lot of people called the media outlet with a complaint.
Update: Yesterday a group of mothers, who lost sons in army in non-combat situations, threw water at an investigator and accused him of not taking their sons cases seriously, and of cover-up. They also accused the new investigatory committee chief of being biased.
Today the Investigative Committee released a statement:
The committee mentioned by the mothers doesn't have a president. It is a transparency initiative in which investigators work with public NGOs.
The committee isn't refusing to hear their sons' cases due to a cover-up, but rather due to the fact that their cases were never officially closed and are still under an official investigation, thus the committee can't intervene.
General prosecutor Arthur Davtyan has asked the Cassations Court to overturn 2008 convictions of 3 more people.
The Kocharyan regime illegally dispersed sleeping protesters in the morning of March 1st, after law enforcement made false claims about them allegedly having firearms.
Several protesters were arrested. At the time, the court ignored witness evidence, didn't have enough proof of wrongdoing and made other violations, before sentencing the three, says Davtyan.
(ECHR earlier found the protesters rights were violated due to the authorites' illegal actions.)
During the 2018 revolution, police forces chief Levon Yeranosyan, who was allegedly drunk, fired heavy duty sound/flash grenades directly at the protesters. Several people were injured, one of whom is QP MP Alen Simonyan. Yeranosyan was recently charged. His trial happened today.
MP says he got away with 3 shrapnel in his foot, but others weren't as lucky. Says this is the same type of grenade that was illegally shot towards a March 1st 2008 protester, who died from the wounds. MP spoke with the police recently and they seem to have agreed to stop using it altogether.
There is officially an arrest warrant in-absentia for HHK MP Samvel Farmanyan's sister Anahit Farmanyan.
Last year the police said they busted her with collecting and embezzling money from students of her university. She was released under bail and a personal assurance of BHK Naira Zurabyan and LHK Edmon Marukyan.
In mid-2019 she was told to return for more questioning, but she ran away. The two guarantee-giver MPs don't know her whereabouts.
More dogs were able to sneak into Yerevan zoo. This time they killed 3 mouflons. Yesterday they killed 3 kangaroos.
The zoo says these are part of the same dog gang. Yesterday they were only able to catch 3 of these dogs.
Deputy mayor Tigran Virabyan has offered Zoo director Ruben Khachatryan to resign. The director has resigned.
Honorary Mention of the Day
Gov-run Sevan National Park chief Vahe Gulanyan has resigned so he can do private business. Says he had to stop doing business after becoming a public official. (cough someone cough)
Last year when Sevan algae bloomed, he drank the toxic algae water while bragging about it being clean. He had to go to hospital with poisoning. This year he was smarter an left the algae alone.
This summer he predicted that if Sevan doesn't bloom the second time by October, it will bloom again in summer-2020. The lake did not bloom in October.
BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan's business empire outside of Armenia. Hetq media reports...
EAEU trade bloc countries share the customs duty revenues. They re-calculated the fees for 2019 and decided to give Armenia an additional $25mln (12bln).
Armenia will get 1.22% of customs revenues generated in the bloc.
Justice Ministry has begun a pilot program to have a private firm Art Lunch provide food for 1090 prison inmates in 2 prisons. The food is of a higher quality, and some inmates and relatives are happy about not having to bring food from outside at personal expense. The 3 daily meals provide at least 2800Cal.
Although the price of each meal rose from 900 to 1400, the overall cost is about similar because the govt saves on upkeep (refrigeration, servicing etc.), says Minister. "At the same time the quality went up."
If the other prisons were included in the program, the Ministry would have to spend 250-570mln more each year.
Police in Vanadzor busted 10 trucks carrying illegally cut trees. The logged material is confiscated.
A warehouse hosting 3 textile garment factories has opened in Yerevan. They currently have 1000 workers but plan to hire 2000 more. One of the firms they're cooperating with is the firm that creates Dolce & Gabana.
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will see a 48bln (11%) increase in budget for 2020. Total is 495bln.
502,000 seniors will get an avg 10% pension raise in 2020.
The pension calculated for each year of work experience will rise. Pensions for disability, losing family breadwinner, etc. will rise.
Healthcare Ministry budget to rise 22% in 2020. Total budget 109bln.
They plan to launch a subsidized pilot program to convince people aged 50-70 to get screened for colorectal cancer.
Update: Eric Vardanyan is the Pyunik soccer player who earlier created a fight during a match, before exiting with middle fingers towards the opponent fans. Turns out he also fought with opponent fans on the internet after the incident.
He has been suspended for 6 months. Pyunik will pay a 600k fine.
Sargis Stepanyan is the world champion in arm wrestling for people with disabilities.
European chess tournament is ongoing. Armenian team defeated Azerbaijan 2.5:1.5
Southern city of Kapan will have a new airport in 2020. Construction is in final stages.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/172871 Spice of the Day Award
CivilNet outlet has done an extensive investigation of Armenia's largest Zangezur mining shareholders. They even sent people to Cyprus to investigate offshore offices.
The report says (doing my best to make it understandable, but you should read it in full):
In 2004, the Kocharyan administration privatized government's Zangezur copper-molybdenum factory, which is the largest firm and the taxpayer in Armenia. It was sold to 4 companies for $132mln.
The shareholders became:
CRONIMET - 60%. Registered in Germany. It's part of a larger company. (later a similarly named company was registered by Syunik's HHK governor. Unclear why)
Armenian Molybdenum Production - 12.5%: Registered in Armenia. Owned by 2 people. In 2017 the firm was renamed to AMP Holding. The shares were then sold to STAR DUST firm, managed by Avetik Hovikyan.
Avetik Hovikyan also happens to be the director of former Syunik HHK governor Vahe Hakobyan's personal business.
(Remember STAR DUST)
Maqur Yerkat factory - 15%. Registered in Armenia. Owned by 2 people. The CEO was Karen Hakobyan, the brother of Syunik governor HHK Vahe Hakobyan (same as above). (in 2018 FIP wrote an article saying Vahe Hakobyan embezzled some of the funds https://infocom.am/?p=566&l=am )
In 2015, CRONIMET buys Maqur Yerkat shares and gets 75% of the Zangezur shares.
Zangezur Mining - 12.5% shares. Registered in Armenia. Owned by several people.
In 2017 this firm's shares were sold to Մուն մեթալս firm. The Armenia-based office address mentioned by Մուն մեթալս turned out to be false. None of the addresses said they were connected to the firm.
Մուն մեթալս, with 12.5% of the Zangezur shares, had 1-3 registered employees. Turns out the firm is owned by two: Armen Antikyan and Suren Atsikyan.
Who is Armen Antikyan? Turns out he is from the close circles of HHK PM Hovik Abrahamyan, and Serj's son-in-law and Roboserj media magnate Mikael Minasyan. Antikyan holds/held positions in their offices.
Antikyan also happens to be a shareholder of ZoraGet Hydro plant. This hydro is allegedly the strategically important structure that Pashinyan earlier mentioned being embezzled by the former regime. Serj's relative Mikael Minasyan's name was circulated as being behind the embezzlement, with some speculating that Minasyan will soon be arrested. ZoraGet hydro was embezzled in 2010 after being sold for many times cheaper than the market value. That felony case is ongoing.
...back to shareholder story...
In 2018 this Մուն մեթալս firm (12.5% Zangezur shares) was merged with Cyprus-based Walnort, whose real owners are unknown and only the legal "proxy" people are mentioned.
CivilNet then learned that in the Cyprus address where Walnort (former Մուն մեթալս) firm was registered, another firm is registered, called Triendotto. This Triendotto firm was doing the business of creating public transport tickets for Ukraine. This Triendotto firm is owned by former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan's cousins Karen and Armen Vanetsyan.
Spicy part incoming...
The proxy firm (Walnort) that bought 12.5% of Zangezur mine and had shady ties with the embezzled strategically important Hydro plant , as well as Vanetsyan's offshore bus ticket business (Triendotto), have the same person as the director.
Remember the STAR DUST firm that owns another 12.5% of Zangezur shares? It has the same legal address as Մուն մեթալս (aka Walnort).
START DUST owners also own Araks Baber shop in Yerevan. They also presided over a firm, where Serj's media magnate son-in-law Mikael Minasyan was a shareholder. STAR DUST owners have a Facebook page in which they always write positive things about Mikael Minasyan.
One of the businesses owned by Minasyan, and supported by this circle, is the famous Jazzve (Jazve) cafe. One of the people from this circle owns around half of the largest SPAYKA agricultural import-export firm. Other related businesses are Kovkasfood.
A firm that provided services to Zangezur factory was Armenian Mining Contractors. Its director is the aide of HHK Emergency Minister Armen Yeritsyan.
Mikael Minasyan personally denies owning any of these businesses, says he leased his office for some companies but doesn't know what they did.
End of report.
When Arthur Vanetsyan ragequit and told Pashinyan to "stop", was he anxious about his family being implicated in this story and the hydro?
Or was he shielding possibly a friend Mikael Minasyan?
Or perhaps we misunderstood the story?
Pashinyan's spokesman at the time responded to Vanetsyan saying "your exit message sounded like it was written by people from the former regime". WHAT DID HE MEAN BY THAT?
Stay tuned... 🍿🍿🍿
(Tag: Silva Dambaryan, TagSilvaDambaryan, TagMining, RagArmeniaMining, TagVanetsyan)
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dq9knt/anticorruption_news_summary_nov12019_huge_media/
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