2019 November 29

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News TLDRs - Nov/29/2019 :: Election fraud scheme exposed _ Voter lists _ HHK, Rob & Constitutional Court :: Major prison reform :: Telethon :: Military service reform proposal :: "101 Spies" :: Cemeteries :: EAEU & CSTO & Russia :: Govt session :: Mayor, Cop + tons more busted
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.


During the All Armenia telethon, Pashinyan challenged Serj Tankian to setup his card to automatically donate $21 to the charity every month.

He challenged Kim Kardashian to do the same through $22 .

PM to /u/kn0thing

Brother, I don't know if you're watching me right now, but I challenge you to donate $23/mo to the Fund. I urge you to challenge 3 other people you know, as I did. (Pashinyan is basically running a pyramid

scheme)

Pashinyan isn't happy with the money collection, says we always expect the same few large donors to donate "but how long can it continue"? He urged more Armenians to contribute, comparing it to the extra money the Armenian govt spent recently, to show that the $12mln donations to the Fund aren't as big as they could/should be.

Pashinyan: If we need 1,000 Drams, we should find 1000 people who'll donate 1 Dram, instead of finding 1 person who donates 1000 Drams.

If 5 million Armenians donated $20, we would have a massive sum.

"There should be a trust towards the Fund. The oversight should triple to make sure it's not wasted", said PM.

By the way, you can donate 24/7/365. The Thanksgiving Day telethon is for publicity.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174977

PM https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/550263288855319/

The telethon raised $9.9mln on Thursday. Another $1.4mln was raised few months ago specifically for Gyumri. These donations continue throughout the year, and you may contribute at any time.

https://en.armradio.am/2019/11/29/telethon-2019-raises-9856100/

https://www.armeniafund.org/category/pressrelease/

Serj Tankian accepted the recurring donation challenge and challenged 3 of his friends to do the same.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174988

Alexis Ohanian also accepted the challenge, and challenged his father and 2 friends to do the same. (the pyramid scheme is working?)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174990

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/175060

Although the reported donations have lowered in recently years, in some cases people used to promise large sums but never donate it.

$3.9mln out of last year's pledged $11mln was never donated by 3 large donors.

This year the telethon had record high online donations. They are putting the aim on large number of small donors instead of chasing few big ones.

$50k was collected in 4 hours through paid SMS donations.

Many US diasporans receive letters on Thanksgiving day and don't return the donation checks until December, so these numbers tend to get high.

These numbers also don't include telethons in Europe and Lebanon. Despite hardship in Lebanon, last year Lebanese donated $87k.

Zangezur mine and Gagik Tsarukyan haven't made large donations this year. Gago has his own charity fund, maybe that's why he hasn't donated since 2018.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175046

The biggest donors of this year's telethon:

Tashir Group's Samvel Karapetyan - $1.5mln

Former HHK MP Lfik Samo - $200k

Grand Holding's Vardanyan family - $125k

more in article

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175002

Alex Holding, whose co-owner is the former HHK MP Lfik Samo and is registered under someone else's name, did donate trucks, although not 20 as claimed by Yerevan municipality opposition Luys party earlier.

Mayor Marutyan said Lfik didn't donate trucks, then published the donor list to "prove" it. The list shows Lfik did kinda donate (lol).

City says the trucks weren't the possession of Lfik Samo himself and did not reflect on donation list as donations from him, although "the city wouldn't mind if Lfik Samo himself donated trucks."

The business gave the city 3 Kamaz trucks for garbage cleaning. City says they'll send thank you notes to all donors soon, and urged for more donations.

The full list of donors is in the article.

Opposition LHK (aka "Luys" in municipality) wants to investigate whether the donors received any favors from the city. Some of the donors are large businesses with a history of construction and other projects in the city.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174932

https://youtu.be/u2WZ2ZDGNmA

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/275570/

Yerevan mayor Marutyan with metro, met metro officials to discuss few things. YerevanTrans firm is building a new bus parking station that'll meet the new upcoming bus system requirements.

The garbage services are preparing for winter. Water trucks are converted into salt trucks to pour 1700 tons of salt and 3000 tons of sand. 11 tractors are ready for snow plow.

WINTER IS COMING. KEEP CALM AND DRINK TEA.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997146.html

Khosrov Forests night camera captured a rare Caucasus leopard again.

Video https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174883

Recently a man claimed he was attacked by one of these leopards in Yenoqavan. Experts argued it must have been a different animal. Data was sent to Germany for examination. It'll arrive in 2 months.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175006

Update

In 2017 Azerbaijan had an episode of McCarthyism and "Armenian Scare". Soldiers were accused of being Armenian spies. The true scale of the events has only now became public.

At least 101 soldiers were tortured, 25 sentenced for allegedly spying for Armenia, and 9 tortured to death. The events happened near the Terter border city and received the name "Terter Case".

The public eventually begin to demand justice. 8 of the perpetrators were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. One of them confessed that unnamed higher ups told them to torture the soldiers, or they themselves would be tortured.

In one instance the tortured soldier gave a false confession against a fellow soldier, who was then tortured and killed. A doctor would normally oversee the torture to make sure the victim doesn't die.

Various torturing methods were used: ice baths, naked humiliation, electrocuting testicles, beating, etc.

The murdered soldiers' bodies were covered and guarded by the police who tried to prevent the parents from seeing evidence of murder. One parent was told her son died from a heart attack during a training. She became suspicious and did an independent autopsy which revealed a physical torture.

https://www.bbc.com/russian/features-50431983

Update

Recently a discussion begun over building cremation centers and using it as an alternative to traditional buries services. Yerevan has 3.5x more land for cemeteries than for parks.

People spend between $50 to $25k for a coffin alone. $100 for flowers. $30 for pictures.

When a senior dies, the govt gives $400 to family to take care of the costs. A funeral service firm says for the most part that is enough.

An expert says that until now, the cemetery land was provided for free. For years, many people "abused" it and "took more land than needed". Now there is not enough land anymore, and expanding is hard.

Each year the govt expanded cemeteries by almost 2 hectares, which is big. It is now proposed to provide free cemetery land to only one family member.

US and Russian investors will open 2 crematorias next year.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174844

When it comes to revenues from the 2018 customs border duties, the Audit Chamber says Armenia received a net positive of $38mln by being a member of EAEU trade bloc.

Each member state gives the revenues it receives from such taxes to the bloc, which then calculates how that money is distributed among member states.

Russia and Belarus pay more than they receive. Armenia, Kyrgys and Kazakhstan receive more.

2018vs2017 this income grew by 25%. 2019's numbers will be available next year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/996902.html

Pashinyan visited Bishkek.

CSTO countries elected the new military bloc leader who'll serve beginning 2020. It'll be alphabetically, so it's Belarus. Armenia's 3-year term ends this year.

Armenian boss Yuri Khachaturov was forced to resign 1.5 years ago after he was charged in March 1st case. Belarus tried to pressure Armenia to give up the remaining term, but Pashinyan refused.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174923

During the CSTO meeting, Pashinyan urged the bloc not to sell weapons to Azerbaijan, saying that if the region destabilizes it could attract radical Islamic terrorism inflow from Syria to Azerbaijan, especially since they're trying to leave Syria for a new destination.

"Armenia recognizes the territorial integrity of Syria and condemns the Turkish invasion. We'll continue to provide aid to our brotherly nation", said the PM.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174930

Russian authorities lifted the arrest from the Panama Paper suspect Mihran Poghosyan, who was briefly detained in April (and was seen traveling around freely).

Armenian govt earlier asked Russia to extradite the former HHK MP so he could face corruption charges in Armenia. The Russian authorities rejected and asked for more documents to make a final decision about the extradition.

https://factor.am/203299.html

Govt gave a tax waiver to...

Սովթ Պապիրուս to invest 50mln (part of 747mln) on tissue and napkin production, 10 more jobs, 100k salary.

ArmeniaWine to invest 265mln, Հակոբյան Ռուստամ to invest 77mln., րսենալ ԼՏԴ to invest 44mln.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174894

QP MP Hayk Sargsyan created a draft bill to reduce the military service to 1 month if the conscript pays 10mln. The author gave reasons why the change could benefit...

The author believes the current system doesn't prevent people from avoiding the military service. Many times people leave Armenia just to avoid the service, and don't come back until they're 27. In many cases they fake health issues to avoid a service. Some mothers visit other countries to give birth to male babies there to avoid them being Armenian citizens. Some people give up their Armenian citizenship.

The number of such men is about 8,000 each year. (data is from few years back)

Author says those families who are financially well-off are already avoiding the draft either way.

The new law could prevent the population emigration, increase diasporan immigration, while filling the military coffers.

"Հայաստան տեղափոխվող երիտասարդներից շատերը կվերադառնան իրենց ընտանիքի անդամների հետ միասին, իրենց հետ կբերեն գումարն, կգնեն տներ, կաշխատեն և նոր աշխատատեղեր կստեղծեն հայրենիքում", said the MP (people will emigrate less, will return more often and invest more).

After serving 1 month, the soldier would have the right to get his money back if he changes his mind and decides to serve the rest of the 24-month service.

Diasporans would need to transfer the money to the military account, go to Armenia within 1 year and serve for 1 month, learn the military procedures, give a military oath, then appear to military whenever called for mobilization.

"With the money paid by each such person, the military can hire 2 professional soldiers for 2 years", says the bill. The hired professional soldiers will be more experienced, and they'll replace the 18 year old kids on the front-lines.

The rest of the money can be used on gym and showers. Soldiers train on basic asphalt in some places, which isn't effective.

Soldiers who train well and don't smoke cigarettes will receive extra items, money, extra vacations.

Audits will reward commanders whose units will perform well in physical/knowledge tests. 75% of soldiers smoke right now, 15% started to smoke after drafting.

It is currently possible to avoid a military service by leaving Armenia before the draft, then paying 3.6mln to have the felony warrant dropped. That law will expire this year. The author says the new proposal is a meant to be as an alternative to that existing law that is set to expire.

Unlike the current law, draft dodgers under 27 will be able to pay the fine and get away with a 1-month service.

  • Currently: avoid service; can't visit Armenia until 27; pay 3.6mln and return.

Proposed: avoid service; may visit Armenia even if younger than 27; serve 1 month; pay 10mln (and appear in army in the event the army mobilizes).

Some MPs liked the proposal, but it hasn't been officially discussed with the Defense Ministry yet. A proposal was made by an official to raise the fee to 20mln.

It appears the Defense Ministry official is against this bill, and any such bill that allows draft dodgers to pay money to avoid prosecution (matter of principles).

Defense Ministry wants to end the current draft dodger payment law too, but ultimately it's up the the government to decide, and up until now that law was extended every year despite Defense Ministry's objections.

Current law ends in December 31, 2019 and it's unclear whether it'll be extended, or whether the new "10mln" bill will replace it.

"I don't know, maybe there is an international precedence that shows this approach to be useful, which served as the basis for MP's proposal", said the Defense official.

Turkey and Kazakhstan have such laws.

http://www.parliament.am/drafts.php?sel=showdraft&DraftID=55261

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/275526/

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175016

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175042

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997135.html

https://factor.am/203692.html

A soldier was wounded in Artsakh. He is in a stable condition.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175056

Former Yerevan police chief Ashot Karapetyan and his uncle have died from a gas explosion in the "Surprise" beer brewery in Pyatigorsk, Russia.

It took over an hour to extinguish the fire. Felony case is launched. Preliminary evidence indicates an improper use of equipment.

https://youtu.be/W87my_qrlmU

https://shamshyan.com/hy/article/2019/11/28/1141640/

The deceased former official had a status of a witness in the March 1st case. He was fired from the force in 2016 after criticism of police's handling of Sari Tagh protests.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174938

Former March 1st investigator and current victim lawyer Seda Safaryan says:

He was one of the key people in the March 1st investigation. He was part of the story in which the police used illegal tactics to disperse the March 1st early-morning peaceful protesters.

The police brought bunch of weapons that night to plant it near Opera to then use it as an excuse to conduct "searches". The official was aware of all this. We were planing to asking him several questions.

Its worrisome that people connected to March 1st are dying (one other former official committed a suicide earlier). We need to find out why they were allowed to leave Armenia and settling in Russia while all this investigation was happening.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174954

HHK MP and former prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan has an arrest warrant in-absentia against him. He failed to appear while asked by the SIS. Prosecutors want the court to give a 2-month arrest warrant.

He is charged with March 1st.

Kostanyan is apparently in Russia, tutoring some classes in universities.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174933

Govt approved a bill to make it easier for citizens to change names. It won't be necessary to visit the local registration office, can be done elsewhere, can be done electronically, overall time is reduced.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174904

NSS arrested a policeman after he took a $100 bribe to illegally register someone's illegal gun.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175057

Armenian soccer team fell in the FIFA ranking.

1 Belgium, 2 France, 3 Brasila, 91 Geoegia, 102 Armenia, 114 Paytakaran, 175 Moldova.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174919

Lori governor and the police have busted an embezzlement of 6 schools.

Report says that Alaverdi mayor and the council made illegal decisions in 2003-2005 to sell 6 school buildings for below-market value, sometimes to friends, before purchasing the same buildings back for higher prices. (Pashinyan's little Telethon ponzi scheme is nothing compared to this jewel)

Felony case is launched.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997124.html

🌶 Spice of the Day Award 🌶

An illegal logger in Syunik was told to stop his vehicle. He refused and slammed the cops' road block before fleeing. He was later caught and arrested.

Legend says this is the first ever Hollywood action near Goris.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174910

Update: NSS earlier busted a 2016-2018 newborn child trafficking ring involving medical employees. 1 person has been arrested under the suspicion of trafficking 2 kids.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174943

Gohajq municipality officials is accused of corruption. Police says he illegally leased 19 pieces of lands to a Sisian resident in 2015 by bypassing city authorization. Felony case is launched.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174963

Kapan's N3 Special School former director is accused of corruption. Police says he faked employee records to pay wages to several family members between 2005-2017. Felony case is launched.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/174968

Investigative Committee has a felony case against several officials at The Department of State Property Management. They are accused of purposely lowering a property's value on paper from 40mln down to 4.7mln before a transaction, causing damage to state.

Felony case is launched.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/996895.html

Burglary clearance rate (resolved) in Tavush province went from 24% in 2018, to 67% in 2019.

The prosecutors earlier drew the map of vulnerable areas, some apartment complexes got a password lock, CCTVs were installed, more patrol was dispatched.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/996986.html

Various law enforcement agencies have been making busts lately.

Pashinyan says:

Although the SIS is an independent agency, there was a shift in how they begun operating after the revolution; they are more efficient now.

It isn't about only busting former politicians with corruption. If that was the case, it would've been political.

In the past year alone, SIS recovered more money than it did in the past 11 years combined.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174997

The govt approved a plan to reform the imprisonment, prioritize rehabilitation, reduce criminal subculture, improve living conditions, improve disability access, probation system reform, etc.

Silikian district will have a new Penitentiary center. It will replace the notorious Nubarashen Penitentiary (to shut down completely) and an inmate hospital.

The new facility will host 1,200 inmates and have 200 hospital beds.

Goris Penitentiary will shut down. A new facility with 350 capacity in Khndzoresk to be built.

Yerevan-Kentron Penitentiary will be relocated from the NSS building to Erebuni Penitentiary.

Hrazdan Penitentiary will shut down and a new facility will be built next to the Sevan Penitentiary, which will include various punishment facilities (the shu).

Armavir Penitentiary to have air conditioning and better medical service.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/174915

There have long been suspicions that the former regimes were manipulating the voter database to rig elections.

Today, the Constitutional Court (aka CC) judge Vahe Grigoryan (aka Judge) wrote Part 1 of his "expose", in which he accuses CC of serving as a tool to allow such machinations, while presenting data and in-dept analysis.

The Judge had earlier raised the issue of CC not being suited to fairly do its work, and being illegitimate, with conflicts of interest.

He is now arguing that CC aided Kocharyan and Serj governments with falsifying elections between 2003-2016, and with keeping voter Lists secret while colluding with the regimes.

What is a Voter List?

On election day, the voter goes to a facility, gives an ID to worker, worker marks that the voter is voting and gives him a ballot, worker marks his name as the one who did the procedure. Voter takes the ballot and signs the worker's doc to verify he got a ballot from the worker. This is all reflected on the List.

This List is the only doc that details this stage of worker and voter activities. If this List is falsified and it is made public, the worker will get busted with fraud. This is the List that can show whether non-voter's names were illegally casted or not (it doesn't show whom you voted for, it just shows that you voted, something that is also public in USA).

Only those with the power to control the law enforcement and have the database of emigrated Armenians (or simply those who didn't vote) could pull off this type of election rigging.

Memo goes on to explain how keeping these Lists secret allowed regimes to conduct and cover up election fraud. This was made possible by CC's Verdict 412 in 2003. Despite the law that required the Lists to be made public, CC's verdict allowed govt to keep them secret for several elections since 2003.

In 2011, the law itself was amended by HHK to make these Lists secret. Because CC had already approved this practice, any challenge against changing this law was denied by CC.

CC did not provide valid reasons for making the Lists secret. It only reflected a non-binding advisory by the Venice Commission which said that publishing such Lists would not allow voters to remain completely secret.

Venice at the time had a document, not approved their Venice's board yet, which stated that people may not want everyone to know that they participated or didn't participate in elections.

CC, before waiting for more deliberations by Venice, used this non-binding doc as an opportunity to make a rushed decision to make the Lists secret.

Moreover, Venice doc said that each country may have different issues and should make an independent decision, which CC ignored.

Eventually, in 2016 the Venice looked into the election rigging accusations in Armenia and clarified its own doc to state that making such voter Lists public can help fight election fraud.

14 years after Lists were made private, after lengthy deliberations with civil societies and opposition parties, the Lists were made public again. In these 14 years there were 3 presidential elections, 6 state-wide elections, 3 Parliamentary, 3 Constitutional amendment votes.

When the govt decided to make the Lists open again in 2017, the CC didn't argue, thus showing that their initial concerns were a pretense to aid the regimes with keeping the Lists secret.

Making the Lists secret took away the oversight and allowed regimes to falsify. Numbers show that between 350,000-500,000 votes were rigged between 2003-2016.

In post-revolution 2018 election, when such tactics were not used and it was open, only 1.3mln people voted.

Yet the public sentiment showed that there should have been an unprecedented turnout in 2018. Nonetheless, on paper, these elections had 300k fewer votes than what was declared in the past elections of 2012 and 2017.

There is no valid explanation to such voting discrepancy. Despite massive emigration of voters, the turnout mysteriously rose in 2003-2015.

There are known cases when these Lists were manipulated. Combined with other known falsification methods, a reasonable doubt was formed around the validity of such elections. CC not only didn't act to stop it, but it actively aided the process.

When and how did CC decide to make Lists private?

Presidential elections took place between Kocharyan and Demirchyan in 2003. The second stage saw 1.6mln votes. Demirchyan challenged the results in CC, arguing that there were instances of people going to polls just to find out someone had already voted under their name, and that people not located in Armenia mysteriously voted.

There were known instances of ballot stuffing, and they found pre-made ballots under Kocharyan's name the day before elections. Election officials refused to give the voter Lists to Demirchyan at the time, despite the law required them to do so.

CC took the case, and made a verdict to make the Lists private.

Fast forward 2011, HHK passed a law to strengthen the CC's decision to keep Lists secret.

In 2012, opposition HAK/ARF/BHK asked the CC to make the Lists public again. CC reaffirmed its earlier verdict to keep them secret. CC did not address the concerns of widespread election rigging and the opposition not having any oversight. CC reaffirmed its decisions few more times until 2013.

In 2015 the Constitution was amended with a referendum held under the same flawed system, in which HHK passed its amendment. It raised concerns.

That is when the 4+4+4 negotiations format was created, consisted of 4 members of ruling party, 4 opposition, 4 NGOs.

They were negotiating to make the Lists public. Under pressure from home and abroad, HHK agreed to start to make the Lists public again. Europe also welcomed the decision to make lists public.

In 2017 elections, for the fist time since 1999 the lists were made public. The CC, all of a sudden, forgot about its concerns about making the Lists public, thus proving it was always about doing what HHK wanted them to do.

Here is the list of voter turnouts in prez elections:

1996 Levon: 1.33mln

1998 Rob: 1.57mln

2003 Rob: 1.59mln

2008 Serj: 1.67mln

2013 Serj: 1.52mln

2018 Nikol: 1.26mln

And Parliamentary elections reported turnout:

1999: 1.37

2003 1.23

2007 1.37

2012 1.57

2017 1.57

2018 1.26

In 2017 the Lists were made public, after which there were more reports of other forms of fraud, such as bribery, pressure on subordinate workers to vote, etc.

The 1996 and 2018 turnouts are the only trustworthy base numbers because the Lists were public, and in 2018 everyone agreed it wasn't rigged.

When Kocharyan won the 1998 elections, the first stage of the election wasn't disputed, but when the election went to runoff between top-2 candidates, that's when allegations of List manipulations were made, and the record shows that in second stage 235k more people allegedly voted. Even in the 1996 politically active climate there wasn't such a big jump from 1st to 2nd stage.

(Memo goes on to compare emigration numbers and turnout to prove the numbers don't add up.)

Records indicate that in some regions the voter turnout must have been 100% to secure the reported results.

"The public's concerns about election fraud are justified."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/175027

Tag: #CC ConstitutionalCourt, VaheGrigoryan, ElectionFraud, VoterFraud


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/e3ka1w/anticorruption_news_tldrs_nov292019_election/


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