2019 September 20
Anti-Corruption & News Summary - Sep/20/19 :: Kocharyan & Ohanyan :: Former Minister charged :: Pashinyan gathers heads of law enforcement -- Layoffs & Promos :: Environmental news & busts :: Railways :: Public TV broadcast scandal - Corruption - Serj :: Army drill & Reservists :: A fight and injury
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.
Few days ago the court ruled that Rob Kocharyan doesn't have to be freed after the Constitutional Court's ruling. Rob plans to take challenge that verdict in the Appeals Court.
The court also decided to hear whether Rob can be freed on bail or signature. Today it ruled that Rob should remain in jail, preserving the earlier verdicts. The court did allow suspect Seyran Ohanyan to leave Armenia for medical care.
The trial turned into a circus after Rob's lawyer asked the judge if she is one of those judges mentioned by others who "դռների տակ վնգստացող" (cries like a dog while awaiting orders). The judge asked the lawyer not to insult the court. Another lawyer wanted to intervene but was asked to wait for the first lawyer to finish his speech. The lawyers then used this incident as a pretense to claim the judge is unfair and biased, and won't let them speak. They decided to ask the judge to recuse herself in future cases.
Someone rained fake money on Kocharyan supporters gathered outside of court.
Pashinyan went to NSS and presented the new acting chief Eduard Martirosyan.
He also went to police to present the new acting chief Arman Sargsyan. He hopes that the appointee will bring the police force to "21st century" standards.
Pashinyan expressed a hope that the new NSS and Police bosses will meet the expectations, and made it clear that their status as chiefs will be depended on performance.
Several officials, notably the IRS boss and the March 1st suspect Yuri Khachaturov's military-man son, have received promotions.
A high ranking police official Babken Sedrakyan, the head of the searching operations division, has either been fired or quit. He was appointed as a diplomat in 2017, and promoted in the police force in late 2018 by now-former boss Osipyan.
Hetq media earlier did a research and found that in 2014 the official owns two apartments in a Palm Jumeirah district in Dubai under suspicious circumstances.
Pashinyan gathered the heads of all major law enforcement and auditor agencies and told them to ramp up the fight against corruption, reflect what was done in the past year, do a fresh reboot, bring back more stolen money, enforce the law without violating human rights.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Update: Two days ago the prosecutors pressed fraud and embezzlement charges against the director of Gagik Tsarukyan's largest business Multi Group in the North-South high construction case. Few others were also charged.
One of the suspects is the former Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Gurgen Sargsyan.
Prosecutors have pressed additional 556mln money laundering charges against the Panama Paper suspect HHK MP Mihran Poghosyan, who is going through an extradition hearing in Russia. Prosecutors say Poghosyan used his Armenia-based "Catherine Group" and the offshore firms to launcher the money.
Today the environmentalists around the world march to raise awareness about the climate change. Anti-Amulsar mining activists also organized a gathering. They helped the children to leave the classes and join the protests in Jermuk. Some children said the director pressured them not to leave the school. Education Ministry said they'll investigate, and urged the adults to respect children's choices, and also not to manipulate them. Some employees in Jermuk walked out to participate. A gathering was scheduled in Yerevan for the evening.
Environmentalists gathered outside of govt building: "all mining companies are breaking the law, some metal mines should be shut down, no new licenses should be issued, miners need to be audited to make sure they don't evade taxes."
Update: Police launched a felony investigation about the river pollution, presumably by local food processing businesses, which resulted in a decline in stork population in Ararat province. Storks were found submerged in a food oil. Some of the charges carry up to 12 years in prison. No individual suspects yet.
NSS busted the director of Chambarak forest protection agency. He's accused of embezzling 27mln since 2005 by registering fake employees.
In 2008, a Russian-owned railway company "South-Caucasus Railways" obtained a 30-year lease to run the railway system in Armenia.
Last year, the IRS said they busted the company with $60 million fraud and tax evasion. Documents were confiscated. Pashinyan and Putin discussed it during a meeting in Moscow.
Deputy Transport Minister of Russia says they plan to cease the ownership and operations ahead of schedule because they don't accept the charges, and 10 year worth documents are still confiscated which hinders their work.
An anonymous Russian source says the Russians earlier met the deputy PM Mher Grigoryan and offered him railway investments in exchange for closing the felony case, but the offer hasn't been accepted.
EU will invest $70 million in a SME private equity fund in Armenia. It's about investments and stuff. ONLY SMART PEOPLE KNOW HOW IT WORKS, SO KEEP SCROLLING, PEASANT...
Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan, who is under an investigation for appropriation of a strategically important structure, runs several media networks. (You might remember from last year when Roboserj was busy buying media outlets.)
One of his networks is PanArm (PanArmenian news site is, or most likely used to be, part of it). In 2014, PanArm obtained a license to broadcast the Armenian public network H1 in US for only $2,500/month. The license expires this year.
ARTN is a competitor network in US. The head of a ARTN Oghlachyan says the H1 administration colluded with PanArm to extend the broadcast right in a corrupt and non-competitive manner. ARTN chief says H1 didn't organize an auction and secretly decided to sign a new $4,000/mo broadcast deal with PanArm.
ARTN chief sees corruption in this:
In 2014, Minasyan created the PanArm (PanArmenian) network. Suspiciously, the H1 management refused to cooperate with the already-established 7 Armenian-language large networks in US, and chose to cooperate with Minasyan's newly creates PanArm for pennies ($2.5k). In comparison, similar broadcast deals are worth $50,000/mo. At the time the H1 director was a person whom Minasyan helped to become a director. PanArm earned millions from ads but only paid $2.5k/mo in fees.
ARTN chief says he planned to participate in a November-2019 auction and pay $83,000/mo, until he received a document saying that H1 has plans to extent the PanArm deal for $4,000/mo. He says the H1 admins can claim they didn't break the law because there is - in fact - no law that requires an auction for this, but that doesn't mean there is no corruption.
He's waiting for H1 board boss Ara Shirinyan's response. He says the Parliament and PM should intervene and stop this disappointment among diaspora Armenians.
H1 boss Shirinyan responded, saying there is no law that regulates how broadcasting licenses are sold, and H1 has the right to choose its partners.
He claims ARTN didn't contact H1 with an offer. H1 plans to sign another 5-year deal with PanArm because it's been paying the fees on time, makes H1 free for locals, has a wide area penetration.
H1 agrees to sign a $83,000/mo deal with ARTN too, while keeping the $4,000/mo deal with Minasyan's PanArm. H1 will discuss with PanArm whether the new deal with ARTN will jeopardize the existing deal between them.
Govt earlier approved a plant to inject $117 million into the economy by paying back some previously collected fees to 2,800 businesses who would normally not receive those funds.
IRS boss Ananyan went to Parliament to present the bill. If you care about the technical details, read the article below.
IRS boss says Armavia airlines and Nairit factory owe the state 37bln and 10bln respectively. They went bankrupt earlier. The $117mln isn't about them.
181 of the 2,800 businesses set to receive funds are in the brink of bankruptcy. Combined they'll receive $11.1 million. The rest will go towards stable businesses.
BHK MP Bagratyan says this type of good treatment by IRS towards businesses is unprecedented in Armenia. He is skeptical, thinks there might be "gotchas" somewhere.
Պատկերացնո՞ւմ եք, մարդը տանը նստած, որը վաղուց մոռացել է՝ մի երկու մլն գերավճար ուներ, ծանուցում է ստանում, թե՝ եկեք, ձեր գումարը ստացեք։ Որպես կանոն՝ մեր երկրում գերավճարները եղել են կորստի գումարներ»,- ասաց Բագրատյանը։
Bagratyan supports the resolution, saying it'll stimulate the economy and grow the businesses.
Speaker Mirzoyan joked, saying that after BHK MP's speech the QP MPs don't have to speak anymore.
Parliament unanimously adopted the draft bill. It'll be brought to floor again later for a final approval.
Last midnight a fight happened in Vayots Dzor, allegedly between an army Lieutenant Colonel and Vayots Dzor's governor's assistant. Colonel is in the emergency room. Assistant went to the police voluntarily to give an interview.
The governor says the assistant was going home at night when he saw a group of drunken soldiers having an argument. Assistant got involved by telling soldiers not to curse loudly.
The assistant himself says he didn't attack the colonel. Says he saw how the soldiers were having an argument and the Colonel was trying to create a fight while being drunk. He did participate in an argument with the colonel. Says the colonel wasn't injured at the time and was able to walk away, something happened afterwards.
The police has launched a felony assault with a serious bodily injury investigation.
The police has arrested the Assistant. They're investigating whether the governor was present at the scene or not.
Investigative Committee says:
Info was received in September 18 about a fight and a severe head injury to a Colonel who received an emergency surgery.
An altercation happened between the Assistant, who called 4 of his friends for a backup. The group had a fight with the soldiers.
The suspect punched the victim once, who fell down. Two other soldiers received injuries.
Another earthquake aftershock hits Shirak province. This one was 3pts.
Defense Minister Tonoyan said the Sept 24 - Oct 5 military exercises will also involve a military draft of some reservists. They want to know if in the event of war the system will work properly if they begin to collect hundreds of thousands of men.
Armenian pilots are currently training in Russia. The newly purchased SU jets will arrive next year.
Lebanese Defense Minister Saab visited Armenia. Spoke about a military cooperation plan that they discussed in November-2018. Saab thanked Armenia for the peacekeeper troops in Lebanon. He'll participate in Independence Day celebrations tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the Independence Day. This year it'll be celebrated in Gyumri. Hotels are packed according to a travel booking agency. 1bdr rooms are about $30 in a cheap hotel. Cheaper guesthouses charge $10. Major hotels say diasporan visitors have increased. In recent times many Chinese and Indians stop by.
Boxer Hovhannes Bachkov won bronze in world championship.
MOVE THE KIDS AWAY FROM THE SCREEN. Roma fans dedicated a song to Henrik Mkhitaryan. It features the famous "Felicia" tune.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/d70pzr/anticorruption_news_summary_sep2019_kocharyan/
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