2020 February 28
Feb/28/2020 -- Daily News & Anti-Corruption from Armenia / Lydian miner wins lawsuit / Offshore embezzlement revealed / Mayor's theft / Sumgayit massacres / SOC audits a Uni / Armenian army / Coronavirus update / Azeri spy rumor / Rob ally's bribery / Cabbies vs gig economy / Sports / ... and more
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.
cultural building embezzled to British Virgin Island in 2001
In 2001, the State Property Management Committee officials committed forgery and registered a building on Abovyan 3, which had cultural significance, as property belonging to a private NGO.
The chief of NGO was simultaneously a high ranking official at Culture Ministry.
The official then petitioned Yerevan to buy the nearby land, which was legally not allowed to be privatized. A Yerevan official colluded to help privatize the land.
In 2007, the official (as NGO chief) sold the land and part of the building to a private company, violating another law. This private firm then dismantled the northern section of the building and closed the windows.
In 2011, the official created another firm and deposited the building as an asset into the 2nd firm.
In 2012, this 2nd firm transferred the ownership to an offshore firm in the British Virgin Islands, run by the official's relative. The loot was then split between the official and others.
201mln in monetary damages alone. A felony case is launched for corruption and damaging cultural heritage property.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181760 fugitive official's Swiss accounts
Serj's Compulsory Enforcement Service (money-collector) chief HHK MP Mihran Poghosyan fled to Russia to avoid money laundering and abuse of power charges.
The SIS contacted Swiss police for banking info and the latter has informed of "some activities in the accounts owned by Poghosyan's companies". Not many details.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113859 Lydian miner wins lawsuit
After the 2018 revolution, the new Environmental Inspector suspended Lydian gold miner's activities in Amulsar, citing endangered species, etc.
In 2019 Pashinyan fired the Environmental Inspector and accused him of amateur and partisan actions that jeopardized government's future legal case against Lydian.
Lydian miner says they won a small victory in an Armenian court regarding that incident. The court ruled that Lydian didn't violate 8 of the 10 points mentioned by the [now-fired] Inspector. Lydian argued that the Inspector was biased (he was an environmental activist before becoming the inspector) and should not have audited their case.
The court ruled that mining in the area is legal. Lydian accused the govt of not doing enough to secure their right to work.
The Environmental Inspection Agency will Appeal the verdict.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113872 NSS busts former Ijevan mayor
NSS report said:
The former mayor of Ijevan colluded with a director of a Non-Profit Organization to forge documents to embezzle funds as part of an item-purchasing agreement. Fake item delivery reports were made.
Employment records of 7 people were forged by NPO director to embezzle salary funds between 2014-2020.
A felony case is launched. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181773 Sumgayit massacres / Housing / Canadian parliament
Pashinyan, Catholicos Garegin, and other politicians went to a memorial to pay respects to those parished during the 1988 massacres of the Armenian civilian population of Sumgayit by an angry Azeri mob under the knowledge and inaction of Azeri government. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181722
In 2020 the govt plans to spend 1.5bln to purchase housing for 112 refugees who escaped Sumgayit. "Almost nothing was done about this for 10 years," said Pashinyan. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181716
Canadian Parliament MPs criticized the Sumgait massacres. "30 years ago hundreds of Armenians were murdered and tortured 7 days straight. It concluded the ethnic cleansings of Armenians. 500,000 Armenians were displaced and went around the world, including Canada," said MP Emmanuella Lampropoulos. Other speeches were also made.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006709.html SOC audited a university
SOC audited Armenian State Pedagogical University's foundation's 2016-2019 work and found violations during 315mln worth purchase contracts.
127mln of it was given to 2 firms that falsified docs to win the contracts. Others evaded taxes, provided wrong items, Foundation's officials failed to monitor, etc.
The case is sent to prosecutors for examination. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006706.html Armenian military home & abroad
Armenian peacekeeper soldiers participated in military training held in the US military base in Germany as part of the multi-national "Kosovo Forces" project. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181715
Pashinyan met the chief of CSTO military bloc Stanislav Zas.= to discuss cooperation plans, and the upcoming celebration of the 75th anniversary of WW3 victory. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181776
Armenia and Greece signed a military cooperation agreement for 2020. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181785
TUMO tech and engineering center held open classes for Armenian soldiers to inform them about the available courses for them. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181770 Pashinyan's daughter suing Rob's activist
PM's teenage daughter Shushan Pashinyan is suing former regime's media activist Narek Samsonyan for alleged defamation about the story published by Samsonyan earlier, which claimed that Pashinyan retaliated against a restaurant for selling black caviar to him for $5000 instead of $3000. PM's daughter was also named.
Samsonyan is facing other legal charges as part of this story for "lying to law enforcement and purposely providing a false report during a criminal investigation". More on that here.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181735 Kocharyan's media boss / March 1st bribery case
Context: hidden camera showed how a Kocharyan supporter offered bribes to a March 1st, 2008 violence victim in exchange for him retracting his testimony. Another Kocharyan ally, the owner of 5th Channel Tavadyan, was later charged with financing this bribery scheme.
SIS has finished the investigation and published this report:
Enough evidence was gathered that proves that in the Summer of 2019, Tavadyan and Varujan Mkrtchyan created a group tasked with bribing people involved in two March 1st cases. The group split the task among the members.
In Dep-2019 they met a man, who is presented in March 1st case as a victim, and offered him a 5mln bribe to retract his claim and help Kocharyan. The case is sent to court.
End of report.
The suspects are charged with Code 340.4.1 "being part of a group and bribing someone in exchange for false testimony", punishable between 200k fine and 2 months in jail (already served it lol).
https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?docid=69646 fake news about Azeri spy infiltrating Yerevan
Azeri trolls shared a doctored video on Facebook claiming an Azeri spy went to Yerevan, shot a video, and mocked the security services for not detecting him.
NSS chief said they investigated and found that the original video was recorded by someone else 2 years ago and uploaded to YouTube. Someone from Azerbaijan recently attached different audio to it to troll Facebook.
NSS will release an official statement later.
more charges against child trafficking suspect
Former director of "Yerevan Child House" Liana Karapetyan was earlier arrested for her alleged role in the case about doctors stealing dozens of newborn babies and giving for adoption abroad. Two days ago the prosecutors pressed harsher "actions resulted in serious consequences" charges against her.
The court allowed the suspect to post 6mln bail and walk free. Initially, she posted bail and walked free, then prosecutors won an Appeals trial and sent her back to jail, and now the Cassations court overturned the Appeal's decision and set her free again, pre-trial.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181765 water giant penalized again
Public Services Regulatory Commission issued another 10mln fine to water [legal] monopoly Veolia Water for failing to connect a consumer to the water system within the deadline. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181753 coronavirus near Armenia / safety measures / mask production
Թու թու թու no cases of coronavirus in Armenia, yet. Precautionary measures: careful where you're traveling, avoid people who're sick, wear a mask, wash your hands, cover your mouth while coughing, don't self-treat yourself if you have symptoms. Symptoms include high fever, cough, difficulty breathing.
And remember kids, half of Europe died in the 14th century because they didn't follow this advice because they weren't subscribed to David's daily news summary. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181717
Some Georgian supermarkets and pharmacies were empty today. People shared photos of what looked like a New Year-style shopping spree by concerned citizens in masks.
The 2nd virus infection was recorded in Georgia, brought by a traveler from Italy.
Georgian border guards tightened the safety checks at the border with Armenia, creating long lines. The visitors are being checked whether they recently traveled to Iran.
Azerbaijan recorded its first virus infection. The Russian traveler went from Iran to Azerbaijan. Travelers who visited Iran also sent the virus to Belarus and New Zealand. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181763 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181748
Security Council chief: we have no plan to shut down the border with Georgia yet. We're in touch with their Healthcare Ministry. The footage showing passenger cars entering through Iran border was old, and as of today, only cargo drivers can enter. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181719
IRS has decided that Iranian truck drivers, who enter from the southern Meghri border, will have to dump the cargo at the border and drive back to Iran with an expedited procedure instead of themselves delivering the cargo inside Armenia. They'll be accompanied by police. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181710
82 more Armenians flew from Iran to Armenia. They're being monitored at home. 108 tests were done with negative results. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181794
Q&A with Armenians who just arrived from Iran https://youtu.be/pQ0jiBYCpSU?t=1
Healthcare Ministry is in touch with Armenian businesses to convince them to produce the more effective N95-certified masks in Armenia. At the moment, Armenia imports all masks. The hospitals gathered 150,000 masks in storage.
"Those who think they could have the virus should wear a mask to protect others," advised Healthcare Minister Torosyan. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181683
A doctor says coronavirus is more dangerous in the beginning stages then becomes less deadly to the host as the time progresses. "The virus doesn't want the host to die because then the virus itself will die. The longer Armenia avoids coronavirus, the more likely it is that when it arrives, it'll be a milder version of it."
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181705 cabbies vs cyber-cabbies / protest
Traditional Taxi drivers held a protest for "unfair competition" against the likes of Yandex and Uber app services. They want the nullification of 900mln debt cabbies accumulated in 2016-2018.
"We buy third-party liability vehicle insurance but the cyber-cabbies do not," complained one cabbie, "the debt collector agency came to collect the past debt. It's true that after our first protest they canceled the debt collection, but the accumulated debt is still present on paper... IRS should prohibit cyber-cabbies from placing the TAXI tag on their vehicles."
"Yandex hasn't paid taxes in 5 years, and they don't have to pay for some licensing unlike us," said one driver, "IRS isn't collecting billions in taxes from Yandex because they know who owns Yandex. The relevant govt agencies should investigate."
"The PM promised that we won't pay fines for small violations, but I got a 5k ticket yesterday for briefly driving on 2 lanes," complained one driver.
IRS rep met the protesters. The taxi representative was satisfied with the meeting, saying "They heard our complaint and will investigate the unfair competition, cyber-cabbies' income, and discuss possible legal changes."
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181766 retaliation / prosecutor's car arsoned
A Yerevan prosecutor contacted the police in Malatia district to report an explosion on his car's windshield that was parked in a lot. The suspect is a man who is going through a criminal case because of the prosecutor. A retaliation is suspected.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181724 Mkhitaryan's injury made him stronger?
Roma's Heno is back yet again with another great game against Gent. Roma's goal was scored after Heno's pass. Roma advanced to 1/8th round after playing a 1:1 draw today, because they won the first match 1:0
VIDEO https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181723 doctors got a raise / debt gone
Ararat governor Garik Sargsyan says 500 Artashat hospital employees received a salary hike because they were able to balance the finances and nullify the hospital's 216mln debt.
The debt was paid back in 2019 because the Magic Wand doubled the number of paid visitors on paper, which also allowed the hospital to purchase new equipment.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181696 $6,300 business aid for diasporans returning home
French and German Armenians who return to Armenia and start a business can apply for aid. 105 such businesses were funded in 2019, up 58%.
You apply at the Armenian embassy, go through Q&A, get redirected to the Armenia-based OFII office, economic experts vet your business idea and decide whether to finance or not.
You must have your own money and cannot rely solely on the grant. The approval rates are high.
"The most common aid is for farming because many Armenian emigrants were farmers from provinces," said the committee, "also greenhouse farms, car repair shops, fast food."
OFII also provides household, healthcare, child care aid to low-income repatriates.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181311 you have a mission
to watch this movie this weekend. Have a happy weekend.
https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0114069/ Thursday news
In case you missed yesterday's news: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fai6q9/feb272020_collection_of_news_from_armenia_stay/
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fb0do9/feb282020_daily_news_anticorruption_from_armenia/
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