2020 April 17

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Apr/17/2020 -- Today's News -- Tourist avenue near Lake Sevan -- Many bills passed (nature, anti-corruption, transparency, childbirth) -- Yerevan buildings -- Church scandal -- Deportation of Armenian suspect -- COVID update -- Moody's -- How is Heno doing?
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.


10km walking avenue near Lake Sevan / Tourism & Hotels

Urban Development Committee is discussing a 10km walking promenade road alongside Lake Sevan, near Lchashen-Sevan peninsula.

It could boost tourism. Hotels and leisure POIs near the path. A bike line.

MPs are involved. They want to accelerate the discussions.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185902

apartment complex and gardens in Yerevan

Renovation Projects Management real estate firm met Yerevan Mayor to discuss an offer to build an apartment complex consisted of 5 buildings and parks near Halabyan Street.

The new buildings will allow residents from the nearby 6 dangerously damaged buildings to relocate there.

There will be underground parking. 29,000m2 green area and 6,000m2 building structure.

The project is submitted to govt for discussion.

Video: https://youtu.be/kG-p9kXXoDk

https://factor.am/241638.html

Serj questioned as a witness

Former President Serzh Sargsyan went to NSS to answer some questions about an unnamed felony case. He is a witness, not a suspect.

https://www.facebook.com/amram.makinyan/posts/224999851909725

update: church kerfuffle

Context: church leader Garegin B called for Kocharyan to be freed pre-trial. Politicians didn't like Garegin's involvement in politics. At the same time, a rank-and-file churchman was facing scrutiny regarding a 2013 offshore embezzlement.

QP MP Alen: Garegin should stick to church business and not meddle with politics. (he referred to Garegin with his passport name, which is considered disrespectful. "Garegin" is a title.)

church official Աջապահյան: it's not like everyone disagreed with Garegin. Obviously, his words weren't going to be accepted by everyone. No need to be disrespectful. The govt is meddling with church-judicial affairs here, not the other way around.

QP MP Mirzoyan: church and politics should be separated. Each should do its duties.

LHK MP Edmon: I disagree with Garegin, but he has freedom of speech. It's up to prosecutors whether they'll take his advise to free Robik. Why make a big deal?

QP diaspora committee chief Zareh: Armenian Church is a vital part of our history, but we should let the legal system, which no longer operates on "phone calls", to do its thing. Outsiders should not intervene.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185851 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185869 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185887 , https://youtu.be/hw8w_wnmnzw

churchman's luxury Bentley

The churchman Kchoyan, who is accused of helping his relative to steal and launder $12mln in 2010, is denying wrongdoing.

Interview with his lawyer...

Q: soooo...

A: Churchman has no connection with the [defrauded] businessman.

Q: didn't the churchman get his Bentley as a gift from [his relative] co-defendant who got the money through fraud?

A: Nope.

Q: who bought the Bentley for churchman?

A: he sold his Mercedes 600 and bought Bentley. (holy baby jesus)

Q: but Bentley is a luxury car...

A: Why is it luxury? It starts only at $60,000.

Q: isn't $60,000 luxury for a church servant? Is it normal?

A: Why not? He is world-renowned. He got donations. He saved cash because he isn't married.

START READING BIBLE, YA'LL. CHURCH MAY HAVE A JOB OPENING SOON.

https://factor.am/241867.html

Holy See of Cilicia responds

Aram A, the Catholicos of Holy See of Cilicia branch, has responded to the bolola:

Today more than ever the church has to be with the people, to help them with spirituality, to provide food, and to serve people. This is the role of churchmen. You took the oath in Antelias. We're closely watching your work. We value your devotion. Let Christ be generous to you. Pray for people.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185848

court releases man suspected of killing Azeri in Russia

Russia wants Armenia to extradite a man who got into an argument and killed an Azeri guy in Russia 9 years ago.

He was detained in Armenia in 2019. An extradition process was launched.

Today the court released him for two reasons: he is charged with another crime in Armenia, and something about migration services and his place of residence.

Suspect's father says: he overheard Azeris badmouth Armenians while in a Russian restaurant. A fight broke out. The Azeris returned with a gun. My son took away the gun and shot the man.

https://news.am/arm/news/573084.html

Richest Russian-Armenians

Forbes published the annual sugar-daddy list.

N29: Sergey Galitski Harutyunyan with $3.4bln. He owns the Russian supermarket giant "Magnit".

N39: Samvel Karapetyan with $2.5bln. He owns Tashir malls.

N52: Andrey Andreyev Ohajanyants with $1.8bln. He owns Badoo online dating service.

N103: Ruben Vardanyan with $950mln (poor boy). He owns various businesses and runs the Aurora Humanitarian foundation.

N146: Nikolai and Sergey Sarkisov at $700mln. They own Reso-Garanti insurance firm.

N166: David Yan at $600. He founded ABBYY software firm.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/280257/

COVID stats

1201 infected (+42). 44 more healed. 1 more death.

1700 quarantined. 2600 self-quarantined.

50bln worth loan vacations given to 11k businesses and 380k citizens so far.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185845 , https://factor.am/241906.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1012626.html

update: funeral visits banned after COVID incident

Someone visited Armenia to attend a relative's funeral in Norashen. He was told not to touch others because he was considered a COVID-risk. Despite police's presence, he hugged people. He later tested positive with COVID.

Today the Emergency Team banned funeral-related travel to Armenia. Until now it was a "loophole". Regular travel from foreigners was banned earlier.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185833

COVID mother gives birth

1st case of a mother with COVID giving birth to a child. The mother tested negative after birth. The child's test is pending.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185840

diasporans during COVID

Diaspora Office chief Zareh:

Many Lebanese and Iranian Armenians ask our Committee for help to move to Armenia. But overall, most requests come from Russia. Many Armenian citizens from southern-Russia need financial help to fly home.

We tried to monitor how many diasporan Armenians got COVID but we gave up due to the sheer size of diaspora and speed of events.

We're glad our US-Armenian doctors are helping Armenia to fight COVID. The Los Angeles doctors quickly sent $1mln-worth medical aid when COVID broke out. We'd love to see Russian-Armenian docs to join the effort.

85% of Syrian-Armenians pay rent. Many face difficulties. We're working with Labor Ministry to find solutions.

--

Pashinyan office: 135 Armenians are in Moscow airport waiting to fly home. Some have refused to move to hotels provided by our embassy with the help of donors. They eagerly wait for a flight. We'll help them when possible. For now, they should leave the airport for health reasons. (Russia earlier banned international flights. They organized 3 emergency flights for Armenians, but many others are still stuck.)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185881 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185884 , https://youtu.be/cF2XOTBquJE , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185889

more aid from US and EU

US will donate $1.1mln and $0.6mln sums to Armenia to fight COVID.

EA will donate another $0.5mln for COVID.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185861 , https://factor.am/241870.html

returning to normal life

Pashinyan: Beginning May 14th we'll begin to gradually shift to normal life while preserving safety measures. If we don't stay safe, COVID will spread even faster.

https://factor.am/241917.html

update: Central Bank's new chief

QP nominated Martin Galstyan as the new CB chief. Yesterday Parliament did Q&A with him. Today Parliament voted 104-15 to approve him.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185860

Anti-Pashinyan activists organize online protests

Anti-Pashinyan activists created a Facebook group to coordinate an online campaign to livestream and demand for Pashinyan's resignation.

"Go live with few minutes apart and demand for Pashinyan and his cabinet to resign."

One of the organizers is a member of Yerkir Tsirani party.

--

In unrelated news...

QP MP Alen:

A massive anti-govt media campaign was launched recently because of our bills about anti-corruption, allowing ads on public TV (former regime is afraid it'll compete against ads on their networks).

The situation you see on most media outlets is done to defame us. Don't fall for out-of-context videos.

They use paid mouthpieces and marionette actors promoted by Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan's media empire. They're paid by money stolen from Armenia.

Those who committed crimes will continue to be punished.

https://www.1in.am/2736368.html , https://factor.am/241644.html

power-plant shareholder transparency bill

Parliament voted 103-x to approve a QP bill to reveal the "real owners" of hydro and thermal power plants.

Last year they passed a bill about revealing mining company shareholders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1012511.html

update: forfeiture of embezzled assets

Yesterday Parliament approved a historic bill to allow large-scale asset forfeiture if a public official fails to prove they obtained the property legally.

QP MP Papoyan: Prosecutors' office will have a special division for asset forfeiture. Only public officials can be approached and asked to prove [through court] that their >50mln property is legal. This doesn't apply to ordinary people like businesses. The only way a business would be asked to prove they didn't steal property is if there is already a corruption case involving an individual.

https://factor.am/241864.html

0% import tax to help diasporan repatriates

Parliament approved a QP bill to allow non-citizens to more easily return to Armenia by not having to pay taxes while importing their household items.

1 car is allowed to be imported under favorable conditions. It must not be sold for 6 months (to prevent abuse in which people turn it into a business).

3 units of each type of household items can be imported at 0% tax.

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

bill to regulate "taco-trucks"

Mobile street vendors will be required to print IRS-visible sales receipts. The receipts must contain the name of the product that was sold.

While technically every salesperson is required to print it, very small ones are practically 'exempt' because their annual turnover is expected to be <24mln. Last year govt removed taxes for such businesses.

Parliament voted 105-3 to approve the QP bill.

https://factor.am/241694.html

Parliament approves plastic bag ban

Parliament voted 105-0 to approve govt bill to ban thicc plastic shopping bags beginning in 2022. The handle-less small bags for weighting are exempt.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185873

underground water use will be monitored

Parliament voted 105-x to approve a govt bill to establish the enforcement body that will monitor the use of Ararat valley's underground freshwater springs. There will be an online monitoring tool.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1012510.html

parents will get childbirth aid all at once

Aid for children is usually given in small installments. Today Parliament voted 99-x to approve a BHK bill to give the aid all at once.

https://factor.am/241624.html

Moody's - Armenia’s credit profile supported by economic and financial management

Moody's report talks about govt's aid packages to ease COVID's impact on the economy and population, as well as money management.

Central Bank is also doing its part to reduce reliance on dollar to reduce possible external shocks.

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Armenias-credit-profile-supported-by-economic-and-financial-management--PBC_1167470

վոտերը ժանգոտում են

Soccer star Henrikh Mkhitaryan is in Roma, Italy. He spends all the time with newborn kid Hamlet under lockdown.

Heno said:

It's hard, we don't even have a backyard. I'm stuck home even when it's nice weather outside. Ona the plus side, I get to spend so much time with Hamletik.

My mom and mother-in-law are also staying with us ✝✝✝✝✝✝✝ . I give them a ride to a local store.

Roma sends equipment to train at home. I can't run at home, so I cycle. We need to train for 3 weeks to get in shape when this all ends.

We chill by watching TV and Netflix. My Italian is still bad, I need to read subtitles, so the programs are in English or Russian. We also watch many Armenian movies.

Knowing many languages is hard. Autocorrrect helps sometimes.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185874


Link to original report and comments:


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