2020 April 29

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Apr/29/2020: Wednesday News -- Armenia being sued for $160mln after Serj's railway deal w/offshore firm \\ Lake Sevan building destruction \\ Freedom of press \\ Armenians in WW2 \\ Fight between MP & activist \\ Pashinyan office vs ex-NSS Vanetsyan \\ Hospital trashed after a shooting vendetta
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.


A fight between QP MP and former regime activist / Cigarette exports / Coordinated attack allegations

IND MP Babajanyan: I just got a call from a friend who witnessed how QP MP Alen Simonyan got attacked in Malibu park. I got QP Alen on the other end of the phone and told him to wait for the police.

--

Arthur Danielyan, the co-founder of the Roboserj street gang-turned political party "Adekvad" (men in black who used to march on the sidewalk and intimidate people), was the other party in the fight. He was with 2 Adekvad friends.

All 3 Adekvads were taken to a police station. Danielyan was later taken to a hospital. QP Alen was also taken to a hospital.

--

QP MP Alen to Azatutyun TV: Adekvad's Danielyan cussed my family while I was walking. The argument escalated to a physical fight. His nose and my side of the head are injured. His 2 Adekvad friends were trying to break up the fight. I'm talking to cops right now.

Adekvad group said: we were just walking when MP approached, they greeted, and MP punched Danielyan in the face without a reason. (and as I said repeatedly, I accidentally assassinated JFK over a $20 debt)

--

Another QP MP Hakobyan believes this was an attack on QP Alen related to his sharp criticism towards the former regime made on the Parliament floor yesterday.

The Adekvad guys earlier published a story claiming another QP Hakobyan tried to smuggle some cigarettes. The IRS debunked the rumors that they were helping anyone to smuggle cigarettes. IRS says some portion of the cigarettes were prevented from being exported for not having the right excise tags, and that no documents were forged. The airline company also refuted cigarette smuggling rumors.

QP Hakobyan says these fake stories are coordinated by Serj's media magnate son-in-law Mikael Minasyan and executed by Roboserj activists.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186781

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186783

https://youtu.be/EoXHi2dKomk

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186796

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=910813326061085&set=a.404672760008480

Adekvad https://hetq.am/hy/article/116545

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186816

Former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan / Copper mining shares

In 2019, CivilNet published an investigative report about the real owners of Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum mining giant. Former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan's family was found to have ties to an offshore firm involved with company shares. https://youtu.be/6bqKLjIvtZk

I wrote a lengthy translation about the story here: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dq9knt/anticorruption_news_summary_nov12019_huge_media/

Yesterday, Pashinyan's spokeswoman spoke about these mining shares, saying that Serj son-in-law Mikael Minasyan's shares were "illegally purchased by Vanetsyan, who committed an abuse of power," and that a firm belonging to Vanetsyan's father won the contract to do product transfers.

"After the Revolution, Mikael Minasyan rushed to sell his illegally obtained shares in SPAYKA export giant, Yerevan Mall, Shant TV, Armenia TV, Zangezur copper factory, etc.," said PM's spokeswoman.

Vanetsyan denies buying Minasyan's Zangezor copper shares. He denied it last year when CivilNet's investigative report was first published. He claims "all Zangezur shares transfers were done under the knowledge of Pashinyan and he knows very well I own none." https://youtu.be/8WpE8HJX2h4

--

Things got sour between Vanetsyan and Pashinyan after Vanetsyan refused to investigate certain high ranking politicians, telling Pashinyan "it's time to stop". After his departure, a series of big busts were made (Serj Sargsyan, Hrayr Tovmasyan, etc.)

Recently, Vanetsyan invited a HHK official to join his new political party. This HHK official is charged with helping HHK to falsify documents to hijack the Constitutional Court in 2018 by rushing HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan's appointment as a judge.

https://factor.am/245191.html

https://factor.am/245073.html

https://www.lragir.am/2020/04/29/542001/

Tag: #ArthurVanetsyan #MikaelMinasyan #ZangezurShares #ZangezurCopper

Serj's botched railway project causes a $160mln lawsuit against Armenia

In 2008, Serj announced a plan to build railways between Iran-Armenia for $1.3bln.

Then they claimed it'll be $2bln, then $2.5bln, then $4.2bln. No construction for 9 years.

In 2017, Serj found a sketchy offshore company called "Russia FZE" to do the construction work. This company is part of another offshore called "Russia Group" registered in Dubai. They have offices in the Cayman Islands.

CivilNet was unable to find a phone or any human representative from the offshore firm in 2017, which was suspicious because of the size of the investment. (CAN WE HAVE A BIG SOLAR FLARE PLEASE?)

Anyhow, this Russia FZE offshore company is suing Armenia for $160mln for "unfulfilled obligations".

Pashinyan administration is paying $700,000 to "Baker and McKenzie" lawyers to represent Armenia in the trial.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/04/29/Հայաստանը-գումարներ-կվճարի-չկառուցված-երկաթուղու-համար/383320

Shootings in Gavar / Mistaken identity leads to hospital attack

A shooting took place in Gavar city yesterday. 2 dead, 4 taken to a hospital with wounds.

The friends of the 2 dead didn't know that the 4 wounded were also victims. They thought they were the murderers.

So 500 friends of the dead decided to storm the hospital and kill the 4 wounded as revenge. They outnumbered a small group of hospital police, assaulted them, stormed the hospital, trashed the place, and made unsuccessful attempts to kill the 4 wounded.

A large number of Police Forces were deployed afterward. 15 people are arrested. 4 more are wanted.

--

Gegharquniq governor says 20 days ago a group of men had an argument. It ended up with a drive-by shootout yesterday, followed by the hospital attack.

"No further attacks happened last night. The noises reported by residents were police raids to apprehend the suspects in their homes."

--

Healthcare Minister condemned the attack on the hospital and vowed to renovate the destroyed facility soon.

Human Rights Ombudsman deployed a team of experts to the hospital and police station.

https://shamshyan.com/hy/article/2020/04/29/1153550/ , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186743 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/186733 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/186733 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186747 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186759 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186766 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186777 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186782 ,https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186806 , https://youtu.be/8qCBInjm6A8

Freedom of Press

Armenian Committee to Protect Free Speech has stats about various forms of pressure on journalists, 1Q 2019 vs 1Q 2020

Physical violence: reduced from 2 to 0 incidents.

Pressure incidents: increased from 41 to 50 (30 of which happened during COVID emergency when outlets were ordered by govt to remove "rumors", this practice was later suspended)

Obstructing the spread of info: reduced from 51 to 21.

Lawsuits against journalists: down 2x (mostly defamation, a big spike in 2019)

--

A few problematic bills were drafted, one of which was passed, regarding allowing ads on public TV. Private outlets believe it could "steal" ads from them.

https://factor.am/245287.html

US State Department about Armenia

State Department's magazine published an article about Armenia's history, architecture, politics, US programs that help Armenia, 2018 revolution, current affairs, etc.

https://statemag.state.gov/2020/04/0420pom/

Armenians during WW2

CSTO military bloc's website published an article about Armenia's contribution during WW2.

20% of the population went to the frontline at some point. 300k drafted into Red Army from Armenia, and 200k Armenians from other CCCP republics.

Tamanyan Division was formed in 1941 in Yerevan. They went on to liberate 900 settlements, before crossing Poland and entering Berlin in 1945.

100k Armenians joined the Western Allied forces, mostly in France. 20k joined the US army.

RU https://odkb-csto.org/75-letie-pobedy/pobeda-na-vsekh-odna/kazhdyy-pyatyy-zhitel-armenii-ushel-na-front-vsego-za-gody-voyny-v-sovetskuyu-armiyu-bylo-mobilizova/

ARM https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1013783.html

Tamanyan: http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Soviet_Socialist_Republic

ex-mayor and city council charged

Investigators say:

Chkalovka ex-mayor and 5 city council members colluded to embezzle taxpayer funds. They stole 11mln and gave it to family members, under the pretense of low-income aid, between 2008-2016.

The mayor gave various tax-breaks specifically to his family members.

Mayor sold a family's car to the city for an exaggerated price.

A felony case is launched against the officials for >20mln damages and abuse of power.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186790

COVID update

20k tested. 1.9k infected. 1k active cases. 0.9k healed. 30 deaths.

WHO / the shield / the herd immunity

Governments around the world are thinking about reopening economies with safety measures in place. This involves the already infected and healed people returning to work.

WHO recommends using healed people as "human shields". Additionally, WHO recommends adding to the shield those who believe they got COVID in the past, but were never officially diagnosed.

WHO notes that those who had the COVID symptoms in the past, and personally believe they had COVID, can be added to the "human shield".

Another way to find the secretly-infected-healed people is to do antibody tests. The test detects things left by COVID and assumes COVID had been in the body at some point.

Armenia is not doing such antibody tests, because Healthcare Ministry says they are inaccurate and are a topic of a big international debate ATM.

French scientists are developing a new antibody test that will also find out, whether the existence of the antibody in the individual, guarantees they won't get re-infected.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186744 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186646

rumors about paying a family to claim their relative died from COVID

Doctor Nune Nersisyan is a former clinic director who was fired last year.

She says she got info from a Facebook friend that someone was offered 100k Drams to claim their relative died from COVID, while in reality, the death was from a heart attack.

The doctor's Facebook friend, in her turn, says she got the info from a friend, and the dead woman is this friend's aunt's neighbor.

The Facebook source says the neighbors cannot be contacted. FIP outlet was unable to verify the truthfulness of the story.

(JFK killed Abe Lincoln in a murder-suicide incident?)

https://fip.am/11295

Parliament authorizes deficit increase

Govt needs cash to fight COVID outcome. It proposed raising the deficit by 160bln. Parliament voted 101-17 to authorize.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/116535

COVID cash debate heats up

Yesterday LHK and QP MPs argued whether it's possible to give away 100,000 Drams to every family.

BHK MPs joined the debate. The opposition says more aid needs to be given.

Parliament continued the heated debates today. MPs are accusing each other of getting political points and calling for dangerous civil disobedience.

https://factor.am/245221.html

https://factor.am/245215.html

https://factor.am/245202.html

COVID aid update

1st COVID aid package is for businesses that need a special vetting before getting aid. 284 have so far received 24.6bln in favorable loans.

2nd aid package is for farmers. 6,000 recipients so far, almost all of whom took micro-loans.

3rd aid package is for small/medium businesses. 549 took 6.3bln worth favorable loans so far.

5th aid package is specifically for those businesses that didn't lay off or reduce salaries during COVID. They received 1.9bln so far.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/186771

Buildings near Lake Sevan shore to be demolished

Nature Ministry has been working on a plan to increase Lake Sevan water levels. Last year, Pashinyan created a group tasked with investigating the buildings that were illegally built too close to the shores years ago.

These buildings must be removed so they won't be submerged. The removal phase has begun.

73,000m2 property will be removed. First victims are buildings belonging to local or federal govt. Then the private ones. An auction is announced to create a demolishing plan.

The private owners are told to voluntarily remove their properties. If not, the govt will do it for them, then they will confiscate the money spent on the removal. (MILEY CYRUS BALL?)

https://factor.am/245323.html

Yerevan launches auction to purchase buses

Finally, Yerevan begins the auction process to buy 100 twelve-meter long disability-enabled buses for the upcoming public transport revamp.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1013762.html

don't you love fir?

Mashtots-Koghbatsi area in Yerevan Center will have 62 new silver firs. Some are ready. Others will be planted after parts of concrete is removed and filled with soil.

Why are firs so popular in Armenia?

Pic: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1013774.html

Singer Astghik Safaryan is stuck...

... in Spain during the quarantine. She released a new clip:

https://youtu.be/7ZKlQhoZboM

Wednesday news

Major developments yesterday, ICYM: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/g9tx3u/apr282020_todays_news_massive_22mln_bribery_story/?


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gagkyp/apr292020_wednesday_news_armenia_being_sued_for/


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