2019 September 13
Anti-Corruption & News - Sep/13/2019 :: Businessman exposes bribes paid to judges and Kocharyan officials :: Arrest approved for Serj's bro :: IRS busts frmr city official :: Constitutional Court's special opinion :: Parliament passes bills - arguments :: Director busted :: IRS :: Aliyev be mad
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.
Do you remember the story about a US-based construction firm manager admitting to giving bribes to Kocharyan officials and having the corrupt court approve an illegal property takeover from a citizen?
That was the case in which the European Court for Human Rights made a $1.6mln verdict in favor of the land owner. The prosecutors have just published some data. (Check out July/25/2019 for the old post.)
Pavel Anderson is the founder of Vizkon project development firm. He testified that Kocharyan's chief of staff Armen Grigoryan demanded that the firm pays $100,000 to All-Armenia Fund in order for the govt to assist the firm to illegally take away the victim's building on Buzant 13.
Who is Armen Grigoryan?
Former Kocharyan chief of staff, the "handler". He is the one mentioned in the leaked US diplomatic cables, alleging that he pressured the Constitutional Court judges to approve the 2008 election results. He is also charged with aiding Kocharyan with breaking the Constitutional Order in 2008. He is also a suspect in the multi-dozen million dollar bribery case in which a businesswoman admitted to paying the govt to receive mining licenses.
And what is All-Armenia Fund?
It's the charity fund that Armenians around the world donate to every Thanksgiving day. It genuinely supports various projects in Artsakh and Armenia, so keep sending your donations! However, its now-former manager was busted last year with stealing some of the cash.
Now that you know where it comes and where it goes, back to the construction story...
Construction firm's boss also testified that he gave $550,000 and $200,000 bribes to various Yerevan municipality officials.
He then gave $5,000 to judges (cheap fkcs) to approve the illegal takeover.
The $100,000 that he transferred to All-Armenia Fund management was meant for bribing the Cassations Court, which makes final decisions. Prosecutors audited All-Armenia Fund and discovered that $100,000 was indeed transferred under the firm's name on Aug/1/2006.
The SIS (Special Investigation Service) has taken over the case. Multiple felony charges are pending.
The court has approved the prosecutors' petition for an arrest warrant for Serj's bro Levon Sargsyan. He is suspected of abusing his powers during the North-South highways project to organize a 50/50 revenue split scheme with a firm whom he illegally helped. Months earlier he was charged with an illegal enrichment and hiding wealth. His whereabouts are unknown.
IRS says they busted a former official at Urban Development Committee with falsifying a construction permit in 2015. The IRS was investigating a company when they learned that the company obtained an illegal permit. Felony case is launched.
Update: 3 Kocharyan supporters were detained and are the suspects in the beating of a 52 year old anti-Kocharyan man, during yesterday's protests. The victim will receive a surgery for broken bones. Felony case is launched.
2 Constitutional Court members wrote a special opinion about the Kocharyan related law they were reviewing.
Arman Dilanyan (2018 - present) wrote that the Court should not have reviewed the petition submitted by Kocharyan lawyers, because whatever specific law Kocharyan was charged with, isn't what the court was asked to review. He gave few other reasons why.
Felix Tokhyan (old member) thinks the law they reviewed should not have been struck down. He believes the Cassations Court had already set a precedence, and that Kocharyan's case should stay in these "lower" courts. He also cited another Constitutional Court verdict as the basis for his opinion.
Investigative Committee: the former Hrazdan Medical Center director is suspected of embezzling 11.5mln. The funds are recovered. Felony case is launched.
Update: the Parliament earlier formed a committee to question the April 2016 battle witnesses and bosses to find out if everyone followed the rules properly. Committee chief Andranik Kocharyan says they've interviewed a participant soldier who gave a "very important information". They'll continue to interview high and low ranking members.
That soldier came forward urging other witnesses to testify.
A company wants to invest $60mln in Yerevan by installing new street lamps to save energy, but says the city is unnecessarily refusing to accept the generous investment. The firm wrote a complaint letter to Pashinyan.
In response, city says the firm's lamps have a 60% efficiency while the new standard is 80%. City mandates all new lamps to have a 100,000 hour top-performance life, while the offered lamps provide 70,000. After 100,000 hours of work the lamp's brightness reduced in half. City mandates all lamps to work under 50c temps, while the offered lamps work at 40c.
Parliament held a session.
They passed a QP bill that takes some powers away from the Prime Minister and gives it to the Parliament and opposition parties. Opposition will be able to pick candidates for State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition, and Public Services Regulatory Commission.
Parliament passed a govt bill to form an independent body tasked with examining serious aviation accidents to bring Armenia it on-par with international standards.
Parliament passed a LHK bill to make it a felony to deliberately lie to a notary.
BHK is against a QP bill which would allow citizens to install an app and use it to record traffic violations and submit them to the police.
BHK is concerned it's an immoral law that will turn people into snitches, causing hatred in the society. "An active citizen isn't the one who always goes to the police. Active citizen is the one who doesn't break the law. We need to find other ways to reduce crime."
a few moments later...
The author of the bill responded: Էդ սուտի լավտղությունը տեսել եմ, պարո´ն MP. The bill isn't going to create hatred among people, but will instead help to improve the roads for the drivers.
The debate got heated. It had to be interrupted so the MPs could leave the room and cool off. The app's idea was kickstarted after transport riders long complained about drivers smoking on the wheel, and popular social media groups were created in which users voluntarily helped the police to end the բեսպրեձել.
Another BHK MP is concerned about receiving multiple tickets if multiple people report a violation. QP MP responded saying all reports go to the police station where the inspectors determine if it's the same incident or not, before issuing a ticket.
3 days ago a group of French Parliament members visited Artsakh Republic and promised to help the country to become more internationally recognized. Azeri govt plans to blacklist the politicians, barring them from an entry to Azerbaijan. French envoy in Azerbaijan was issued a note of protest.
IRS says: from May-2018, the 65,000 newly registered workers (majority existing jobs driven out of shadowy economy) have paid 6bln in taxes. 11k of them earn below 150k/mo. 52k earn between 150k/mo - 2mln/mo. 627 of them earn over 2mln/mo. Since Jan-2017, the military fund collected 17.9bln through these monthly contributions, and spent 1.3bln.
The IRS has the list of these jobs because people came forward and registered. Their names and addresses are available. IRS says 20,000 workers begun to pay 1k/mo towards the military fund. A question arises, why is there a discrepancy in the number of newly "visible" jobs and number of mandatory 1k fees?
A quick research shows that these 1k payments are a mandatory but must be paid manually by the worker to a special bank account, either by the employee or the employer. The employee doesn't pay if they earn minimum wage - their employer pays. In either case, they have to make a separate payment besides their taxes.
The fund's FAQ page says: Հայաստանի Հանրապետությունում հաշվառված և ձեռնարկատիրական գործունեություն իրականացնող անհատ ձեռնարկատերերը ... և ... եկամուտ ստացող անձինք պարտավոր են դրոշմանիշային վճարը Կենտրոնական գանձապետարանում բացված համապատասխան հաշվին փոխանցել ինքնուրույն: (It isn't deducted automatically like in US?)
FAQ says: դրոշմանիշային վճարը վճարելիս որեւէ հաշվետվություն չի պահանջվում: (needs clarification)
Theory A) IRS is lying about 65,000 workers. The real number is 20,000. This is unlikely, because the data of these 65,000 jobs is available in the database and can be easily exposed if IRS admins made up the 45,000 fake job positions.
Theory B) IRS is telling the truth about 65,000, but some of the workers aren't promptly paying their 1k fees. (If you work in Armenia, what are your observations? Do people you know pay these fees?)
Theory C) Some of these 65,000 workers who used to be in the shadow, were somehow paying the 1k, so now they aren't paying it "again". Unlikely.
Theory D) Not everyone of 65,000 is required to pay. FAQ says you don't pay if your firm isn't profitable.
Theory E) IRS knows exactly who doesn't pay but chooses not to enforce it because these are low-income folks. Heck, they still can't convince show-biz stars whom you see on the TV to pay millions in taxes. Do they have resources to go after a pleb and demand 1k Drams?
Few months ago a kid famously dared Pashinyan to keep his promise of repairing a nearby road. Today PM bragged that the road is being repaired.
The Regulatory Committee of Television and Radio made a unanimous decision to penalize Armenia TV (500x minimum wage) and a TV show for breaking broadcast rules and depicting too much tasteless violence. Many viewers complained about the show.
The Committee chief says these types of decisions are hard because they have to decide what type of violence is allowed as an artistic expression, and what's prohibited. The violence related rules were tightened in August of this year.
Scriptwriter of the show Diana Grigoryan says her show won't be cancelled because "it has a high viewership rating among the public". (and I have zero doubt it does)
14 year old Ethnic Armenian chess player Aspet Tadevosyan is the world champion in rapid & blitz tournament. 👏
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/d3u5ow/anticorruption_news_sep132019_businessman_exposes/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|