2019 November 6

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption & News Summary - Nov/6/2019 :: Embezzled hotel :: Education Reforms & Quality -- ARF vs Minister -- Science in Armenia :: Amulsar :: Taron Avia :: Official gets citation :: Embezzlement bust :: Sports center & family contract -- busted :: Stats & $245mln :: Foreign Affairs :: more...
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.


Good evening readers. Due to many complaints yesterday, we decided to purchase this account back from Robert Koch. Հայցում ենք Ձեր ներողամտությունը։

Since the early 2000s, Kocharyan and Serj administration officials embezzled money and laundered it to UK and Cyprus, then through proxy firms they brought (some of) it back to Armenia to build hotels, bragging about how much foreign investments they secure for Armenia.

After the 2018 revolution, the Golden Palace hotel in Tsakhkadzor was recovered and returned under public control.

Govt will auction it with an initial bidding price of 7.9bln ($16.5mln). There are potential buyers.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173156

Since we're on Kocharyan topic...

You remember how his bodyguard beat and killed Poghos Poghosyan 18 years ago, for greeting Rob with "Privet Rob". Witnesses (Steven Newton, etc) came forward and said the justice system and govt ignored details from the case. The bodyguard got away easy. Prosecutors re-opened the murder case recently.

Victim's cousin claims the Roboserj media outlets are after him for character assassination. He denied rumors from "unnamed sources" that people from govt allegedly promised him job positions if he helps to resolve the case. "Spreading fake news and hatred among the public was and remains to be signature of the former criminal regime", complained the victim's cousin.

https://factor.am/197262.html

Education Ministry plans to implement education reforms. They want the government to "get out of the way", and to no longer require students to take Armenian Language/Literature classes in Universities, whose major is not relevant to this subject.

The idea is that an up and coming dentist, who had already spent the past 12 years learning Language in school, should not be required to read study more Language in the university, so he can focus more on reading books about fixing teeth.

As part of their general campaign to portray the Pashinyan administration as anti-tradition, anti-Armenian, ARF party seized on the opportunity and rallied their student-wing to protest against these reforms, calling it an attack on Armenian traditionalism and culture.

They were joined by a group of philology students in EPH, whose major is Armenian language/literature . Their argument is that these classes should be required in universities for all students because it creates and shapes a better person, and that removal of the requirement will have "catastrophic consequences".

The activists collected 700 student signatures for the petition to ask PM and Ministry not to make the reforms.

ARF party wants the Education Minister Arayik Harutyunyan to resign. They shut down the Yerevan State University (EPH) entrance.

"We want to learn our language and literature", said the group.

(Change my mind: Why can't they read the literature without requiring others to do so? Is it fair to require a student, who pays 2mln to the university, to study what other students want him to study, especially since he had been studying it for many years? Comment section is open for a civilized discussion.)

Rector of Economics University:

the protesters got it wrong. The govt isn't prohibiting these subjects in universities. They are making it optional. Universities have the authority to decide for themselves if they want to require these subjects.

Education Minister Arayik Harutyunyan:

Armenian language, literature and history should not be required to be taught in universities by the government. Universities will have enough autonomy to decide for themselves if they want their students to be required to take these classes. All students who enter university still have to give a mandatory Armenian language test, so there's that. Universities will continue to receive a budget dedicated for strengthening language, traditions, etc.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173244

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173241

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/994291.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/994352.html

https://youtu.be/_NSwo0VGcsE

ARF's media outlet Yerkir Media escalated the personal attack on Education Minister Arayik Harutyunayn, by accusing him of breaking a law.

The media outlet claimed that Harutyunyan broke the law by being a professor at EPH University, because he could not have won an "auction" to be a professor, because he didn't write enough dissertations in recent times.

Minister Harutyunayn responded to the accusation, providing official document from EPH showing that such auctions haven't been conducted since 2012, and that he had legally worked part-time in the EPH university since 2007.

Context: ARF (or as some of you like to call: Haybollah lol) is against the ongoing education reforms in Armenia to remove the state-mandated requirement for all students to learn literature classes in universities. They organized a protest earlier, demanding Harutyunyan's resignaiton.

https://factor.am/197224.html

National Institute of Science chief and Education-related official testified in Parliament about the state of science and scientists in Armenia today:

During USSR Armenia had 30,000 scientists. Today only 6,000, one third of whom are in a retirement age. There is a brain-drain of young professionals due to low salaries.

In 2017 the science field budget was cut by 7%, which prevented the entrance of 500 young professionals into the field. Significant portion of them left Armenia the same year.

The approval of new science projects by scientific institutes is high, at 14% as of 2015. Scientific project activity rose significantly in 2018. There are some important cooperation programs with other countries. Science centers are being built.

A professor asked the Parliament to increase science financing, saying it's on the verge of a catastrophe. He thanked the Education Minister for the ongoing cooperation plans with other countries, but said more ($$$) needs to be spent to save the field.

A speaker wants to see steps to help increase the investments by the private sector into the education field. "For 30 years, science funding has remained 1.2% of budget."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173264

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/994293.html

One of the several environmental activist groups has ended their blockade of Amulsar mine.

Special Regiment Veterans group wrote a note saying that since the mining is currently suspended, the problem is now of a political nature. They don't want to harm Armenia's reputation and the economic development. They hope the govt's solution will satisfy both sides.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173256

Update: The media reported that Taron-Avia airline operator stopped working (did they have only 1 jet?). It was assumed that it was related to fee hikes in Russia. That could have played a role, but...

Today the Civil Aviation said their recent audits found technical problems at the company (or jet), so they suspended Avia's work and gave them 6 months to fix the problems. The firm then made a decision that it's best for them to stop their works altogether.

https://factor.am/197197.html

2nd in-command at IRS exceeded the speed limit. A cop stopped her, gave her a 10k ticket. She called Pashinyan to let him know the cops are doing their work properly.

Pashinyan told the police chief to give an encouragement reward to the cop.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173257

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173269

Thank you cop, very cool. 👏👏

Spins the wheel... is it going to be a mayor or a city official today?

dadadadadada tatatatatatata dadadada

DING DING DING

A city official!

Police report says:

Former Davtashen district chief, who served between 2012-2018, embezzled 9mln funds from Davtashen Foundation which he managed. A felony case is launched.

Earlier the NSS said they busted a 42mln fake employee salary embezzlement in this district.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173260

Prosecutors say:

A govt-owned sports center admin embezzled 84mln. In 2007 the admin signed a 25-year cheap land and property lease with a firm belonging to his wife. The firm immediately begun leasing the property to another company for a higher price. The firm stopped paying the rent in 2016.

Felony case is launched.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/994322.html

Armenia's industrial output rose 9.7% in the first 9 months of 2019, vs 2018 period. Agriculture dropped 4.3% in this period.

The net change of the number of people residing in Armenia since the beginning of this year, is -7,800 (or -11k vs 2018). The Yerevan population remained the same. Most of the residents who left the country were from rural areas, and a smaller portion of them were from provincial cities.

The number of tourists rose 14.4% in this period. In 2018vs2017 period the growth was 10.5%.

Number of unemployed decreased 12% vs 2018.

Traffic incidents rose 18%, traffic deaths rose 2.8%, YoY.

More inside...

http://arka.am/en/news/economy/armenia_s_industrial_output_is_up_almost_ten_percent_/

http://arka.am/en/news/tourism/the_number_of_foreign_tourists_visiting_armenia_in_9_months_grew_by_14_4/

http://arka.am/en/news/business/armenia_s_agricultural_output_drops_by_4_3_percent/

http://arka.am/en/news/society/armenia_s_resident_population_drops_further_by_11_700_people/

http://arka.am/en/news/society/the_number_of_traffic_accidents_in_armenia_in_9_months_surges_by_almost_18_percent_/

Pashinyan:

The govt has injected $245mln into the economy since 2018 by returning some VAT collections back to taxpayers.

VAT returns in the first 10 months of...

2017: 54bln

2018: 97bln

2019: 117bln

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173214

What else rose in the first 10 months of 2019?

Sales receipts, says Pashinyan. 98 million more units were printed versus 2018 period. A 38% growth. (This reduces tax evasion)

Visible trade volume rose by AMD 274bln or 22%.

Pashinyan thanked the businesses who played fair, and the citizens who demand a receipt during a transaction, saying that it allows them to raise salaries of firefighters, soldier, teachers, etc.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173236

Charles Aznavour's son Nikola and his wife moved to Armenia recently. Today he met Pashinyan to discuss the creation of Aznavour Center, which will be dedicated to Charles' life and art.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173265

Abraham Khashamyan is the new national soccer team coach. He's been an Ararat player since 1984, and served as a successful club coach in the past.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173261

Iran's capital Tehran's zoo director will quit and move to Yerevan to work as the deputy-chief of the Yerevan Zoo. The current deputy chief will become the chief.

The old chief quit earlier after dogs killed animals.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173097

Update: Georgia has finish the first stage of repairing Ninotsminda-Armenia border highway. Armenia is repairing it on its side.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/274778/

Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan told Azeri officials to stop being maximalists, or else nothing will be resolved.

"Do not pretend to be saints", said Mnatsakanyan while responding to human rights violations accusations by Azeri politician. Are you ready to talk about Baku, Sumgayit, Maragha and Shamshayan if you're raising this topic, asked FM.

https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2019/11/06/FM-Mnatsakanyan/2192635

The police in Baku, Azerbaijan arrested passengers of a car for listening to internationally popular Armenian song "Mi Gna"

. The song was a hit in Turkey, with many people uploading their voice-over videos on the internet.

This isn't the first time Azeri authorities persecute people for interacting with Armenian culture. During a Eurovision contest, the Azeri NSS arrested a man for voting for the Armenian singer.

Begins 0:43 https://youtu.be/7EmUo9M8gLg?t=47

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/173237

Cow head vs Pashinyan: Gyumri style.

https://youtu.be/HAW2Sw-BlSQ?t=1


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dsn40r/anticorruption_news_summary_nov62019_embezzled/


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