2019 October 7
Anti-Corruption & News Summary - Oct/7/2019 :: Parliament -- Landlords who suffered from Northern Avenue -- Land takeaways -- Former regime -- Bribery & Corruption -- ECHR :: Kocharyan trial :: MP's suspect sister disappears after bail :: Eggs & Boots :: Tech :: Unemployment down :: Exports up
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.
4 activists were angered over a recent article written by Roboserj outlet Hayeli, which they deemed as "pro-Azerbaijan". They organized a "protest" by throwing eggs at the outlet's office building walls. The police has launched a felony investigation. Human Rights Ombudsman and other media outlets criticized the attack.
During the previous Kocharyan trial, an anti-Kocharyan protester was beaten outside of court by Kocharyan supporters. He was transported to a hospital. A felony charges are pressed against the 39 year old suspect. He is told not to leave the country.
Kocharyan trial resumes. The judge earlier ruled Kocharyan doesn't have to be freed pre-trial. After that, two Kocharyan supporters followed and harassed the judge because of the verdict. They were arrested.
During today's trial, Kocharyan lawyer criticized the judge for contacting the police after that incident. Lawyer sees it as a move that helped to create "two political prisoners" (referring to activists), and asked the judge to make sure there are no more political prisoners in future (referring to Kocharyan).
Kocharyan lawyer asked the judge to recuse herself. He believes the judge is biased against Kocharyan because the court computer that picks judges was allegedly rigged to choose this particular judge without a proper oversight.
Another reason is lawyer thinks the court doesn't have the right to interpret the Constitution, whether Kocharyan had the right to declare a state of emergency or not. (Constitutional court earlier ruled that other courts have the right to interpret constitution during their trials).
Prosecutor denied the theory that they rigged the judge selection process, referring to it as a baseless conspiracy theory. Prosecutors countered the other point made by Kocharyan lawyer. Prosecutors and March 1st victim lawyers argued there is no valid reason for the judge to recuse herself.
Suspect Yuri Khachatyrov's lawyer offered money to the judge in exchange for her recusing herself. The judge sanctioned the lawyer for "disrespect to court".
Judge Anna Danibekyan did not recuse herself.
Kocharyan's "handler" aide Armen Gevorgyan has asked the judge to be allowed to fly to Austria for heart examination and business meetings.
The judge left to make a verdict tomorrow.
At the heart of Yerevan there is a Northern Avenue pedestrian boulevard surrounded by luxury businesses and buildings.
For it to be built, Kocharyan govt had to designate the project as vitally important, and to compensate the local residents fairly and to have them relocate elsewhere for the new construction to begin.
European Court for Human Rights recently ruled that some landlords didn't receive a fair compensation, and had their rights violated. Hundreds of similar landlords raised this complaint for the past decade or more. Corruption and lawlessness accusations were made.
Today the Parliament launched a session to investigate the matter. They invited landlord and NGOs for a testimony.
One of the landlords is Sedrak Baghdasaryan. He lost a house during the takeaway process. He now runs a NGO related to the issue of residents losing properties. He believes that although the Constitutional Court allowed the govt to take away property if govt proves it's necessary for a vital project, the govt failed to provide the project was vital.
He accused the former Yerevan mayor Yervand Zakharyan of abusing the "vital projects" law to use his sponsored businesses to build all kinds of projects, without construction auctions.
(Note: Yervand Zakharyan is the mayor who was recently charged with taking Hakhtanak Park green areas and giving it to Rob's favorite Golden Palace Hotel.)
One of these construction firms bosses later admitted to giving mayor Zakharyan and others $550,000 bribe.
(Note: Read older posts for more details on this $550,000 case. It involves a foreign construction firm boss admitting to bribing judges and Kocharyan administration members.)
According to Baghdasaryan, HHK Justice Minister Davit Harutyunyan at the time was tasked with making sure the illegal takeovers were labeled as legal. Minister allegedly told the victims to "go file a petition with ECHR, but do know I'll be your opponent".
(Note: Minister Davit Harutyunyan is the person who, according to Paplavok witness Steven Newton, ignored Kocharyan's bodyguard's assault on Privet Rob guy. Under his administration, the bodyguard later received a probation.)
Baghdasaryan says that few years later, prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan told him that the govt is ready to give him a new apartment from one of the newly built buildings.
(Note: Gevorg Kostanyan is implicated in the March 1st evidence coverup case. He was the "handler" who went and fixed the deal with prosecutors, police, investigators, per report.)
Baghdasaryan went to met the new Justice Minister Hrayr Tovmasyan to get his new apartment.
(Note: Hrayr Tovmasyan is now the chief of Constitutional Court.)
Hrayr Tovmasyan told him to talk to the deputy Minister Ruben Melikyan.
(Note: Ruben Melikyan is the Roboserj politician who recently referred to two Roboserj activists who chased and harassed a judge as "political prisoners".)
Ruben Melikyan then allegedly told him that he has to give money to receive the apartment. Baghdasaryan insisted that he was supposed to get it for free, but Melikyan said they expect him to pay for it. The end of Baghdasaryan testimony.
Srbuhi Ghasabyan is another landlord whose house was taken away as part of the "vital project". She says today her land is used by Kocharyan' son Sedrak's Stefano Ricci luxury store.
Landlord Irina Piloyan says 1415m2 land and property was taken away. $250 per m2 was compensated, while the market value was $1500 in that area. Part of her area was then given to Russian-Armenian businessman Ara Abrahamyan's business. The ECHR is yet to review her case.
Landlord Tatiana Zatikyan: I once said that I hope to live to see the day when Kocharyan is brought to justice. Today I witness it. Thank you.
Human Rights Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan called the land redistribution unacceptable. "Rights of hundreds of families were violated".
QP MP Gayane Abrahamyan has urged the Pashinyan govt to re-open these cases. 3,000 people lost their living places for almost 20 years because a small group of elites wanted to cash-in millions, says MP.
Speaker Mirzoyan will send the copies of testimonies made during today's session to the prosecutor's office.
Speech transcript https://www.lragir.am/2019/10/07/482429/
HHK MP Samvel Farmanyan's sister was arrested in August 7, 2018 after investigators say they found that she, being an employee of Shirak State University, embezzled 19.4mln from students by illegally collecting fees from soon-to-be graduates. Shortly thereafter, two Parliament MPs posted a 1mln bail and a personal guarantee that Farmanyan will "behave", if freed. She was freed from jail.
July 20, 2019: Prosecutors transfer the case to SIS.
August 13, 2019: Suspect's lawyer told the authorities that she will leave Armenia between August 18-31 as part of her routine vacation to Georgia.
September 12. 2019: after suspect was supposed to be already back from her vacation, the SIS called her to station for more questioning. Suspect didn't appear. SIS contacted her layer. The lawyer told them she left the country and they have no info about her whereabouts.
October 4, 2019: SIS makes another attempt to contact the suspect. They also contacted suspect's guarantee-givers, the two MPs (LHK Marukyan and BHK Zohrabyan), and asked them to keep their legal promise of making sure the suspect doesn't evade authorities. SIS notified the two MPs that due to the violation by suspect, she may be arrested again.
SIS has accused suspect's HHK MP brother of distorting the story by adding drama elements to it during MP's recent interview to a media outlet. MP said during an interview that some investigator, presumably secretly, approached him in a bathhouse and told him that his sister is going to be arrested again and that they can't do anything about it because "their hands are tied".
SIS has urged suspect Anahit Farmanyan to voluntarily appear for questioning.
Քցողին հալալա․ Թող երաշխիք չտաին։ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/990619.html
1,500 Armenian and Russian soldiers and 500 military equipment are participating in a join training that'll last until October 13 . https://armenpress.am/arm/news/990680.html
WCIT 2019 international tech summit has begun. Record number of 6,200 attendees, 2,500 entrepreneurs, techies, and delegates representing big tech firms around the world will spend a few days in Hamalir.
SOAD singer Serj Tankian arrives
Famous DJ Armin van Buuren has arrived.
"Reddit" and "Initialized Capital ventures" co-founder /u/kn0thing
has arrived in Yerevan. He'll see if there are any cooperation possibilities with the tech sector. Says he barely speaks Armenian, his daughter doesn't .
Moment of arrival https://youtu.be/Un8Zf-rPUH4?t=1292
2 US Congress members have arrived at the invitation of Parliament Speaker Mirzoyan.
Kim Kardashian has arrived. She was tired and babies were asleep, so she didn't meet the reporters at the airport. Kim and Courtney took their kids to Ejmiatsin to have them baptized
The opening concert took place. Kim Kardashian, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian, Russia's IRS boss, GIPHY's founder are some of the featured speakers.
Full Opening concert in Public square. DJ Buuren starts at 1h49m.
Concert and special effects
Few minutes https://youtu.be/LbS-7reLUPE?t=143
Pashinyan met the leaders of Infosys, VMware, Pixar, Mubadala.
Pashinyan visiting presentation booths
11 minutes https://youtu.be/ReU1LU2EAnE?t=20
A booth from Synthposium
Few minutes https://youtu.be/Jkmtsa9PTpw
Few minutes https://youtu.be/j8Rc4DmRy7Q?t=7
Smart people talking about your future
2 hour https://youtu.be/QnRZQ12Gx5M
World Information Technology and Services Alliance president Yvonne Chou: Armenia is a Silicone Valley. Few years ago I didn't know what Armenia was. I've already visited 7 times since then. I've told the world about Armenia's potential.
Another tech conference took place. DigiTec Expo 2019 is hosting 100 local and international companies in Mergelyan institute. 280 students and entrepreneurs.
After the conference, ArmAt tech organization signed a contract to implement their school engineering and robotic classes in India, Ethiopia and Afghanistan .
Yet another tech startup conference was HIVE Venture Tech. Minister of High Tech Arshakyan participated in the award ceremony. 20 Silicone Valley firm reps were present.
Another tech, politics and AI conference "Summit of Minds" will be held in Armenia in 2020. Sarkissian met the organizers.
TUMO high tech education center will renovate the central market building of Gyumri. It is currently open-air and unsanitary. The new building will have food preparation school, restaurants, market area.
1st deputy PM Avinyan says the Ministry of High Tech is negotiating with YouTube to have a localized Armenian version.
Pashinyan went to Armavir. A resident didn't know he was supposed to arrive. Upon seeing him, she went, "Էս ինչի՞ եք սենց հանգիստ ման գալիս"
KOTTO fabric factory will open in Alaverdi soon, bringing 240 jobs, mainly for women. Govt plans to provide tax incentives.
Don't let AOC see this https://armtimes.com/hy/article/171029
Unemployment is down from 20.3% to 17.7%. That's a 2.6% decline as of 2018Q3 vs 2019Q3. Most of it came from reducing shadowy economy, and part of it from new jobs.
There are 207,200 registered unemployed.
Jan-Aug of 2019vs2018: Exports are up 4.7%, imports are up 0.7%.
Women's U19 soccer team lost to Belgium 17:0, and to Sweden at 14:0.
խաղը երևի 20-ից էր․ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/990626.html
Many Turks are taking DNA ancestry tests and realizing they're part-Armenian.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/denngm/anticorruption_news_summary_oct72019_parliament/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2021 Daily Armenia Reports|