2020 January 10
Jan/10/2020 :: Daily Anti-Corruption & News Summary :: Stay informed about the latest events in Armenia.
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.
Dalma Mall was evacuated after a 40-minute mild shaking in one section of the building.
Experts found the cause. It was the improperly attached air conditioning unit on the roof. Those who installed it did not use rubber shock absorbers.
The shaking did not cause damage to the building.
The US has donated 49mln worth 1500 items and equipment to Emergency Ministry to help fight against fires.
IND MP Babajanyan says they're examining IRS's 2015-2018 work, and have evidence of $100mln embezzlement by former IRS bosses Gagik Khachatryan (already a suspect in another case), Hovhannes Hovsepyan, and Vardan Harutyunyan. Not many details yet.
Govt earlier passed a transparency law, required by international FATF agency in order to meet anti-terror and anti-money laundering standards, which requires Non-Government Organizations to disclose the source of their income to IRS.
The administration of the Helsinki Committee's Vanadzor branch says the law should not require privately funded NGOs to disclose their income, because it could become a tool to suppress NGOs. It recommends changing the law to require only publicly funded organizations to disclose their source of income and employee info to the IRS.
President Serj Sargsyan was earlier charged with embezzling 0.5bln in agricultural fuel aid.
The preliminary investigation is over. Prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to charge 5 people: Serj, Flesh fuel boss, former OEK Agriculture Minister Sergo, two former Agricultural Ministry employees.
The press earlier wrote that minister Sergo testified against Serj.
Serj denies wrongdoing. His lawyer complained they weren't given enough time to read the 1GB or 4 book-sized materials relevant to the case.
Former HHK Nature Minister Aram Harutyunyan is still on the run. He was charged with taking bribes to issue mining licenses, and with money laundering.
Today one of his alleged accomplices Alik Petrosyan was released on a 30mln bond. He is facing charges related to aiding the money laundering.
Hetq outlet's investigation says 2003-2012 Parliament MP Ashot Apoyan (ARF ballot) broke the law by not disclosing his foreign company ownership info and disclosed other mandated info 2 years late.
The MP is the owner of now-bankrupt Ashtarak-Kat dairy giant.
In 2017 a govt agency and its contractor firm claimed a state-owned property in Yerevan was valued at 10mln, while in reality, it was 19mln. At the time the govt sold it for 6mln in an auction.
A felony case is launched for causing financial damage to the state.
NSS had institutional changes in Oct-2018. It now has a special department tasked with fighting corruption that is harmful to foreign investments. They analyze the risky areas of the economy.
The article contains phone and address you can reach out to if you're a business that is facing corruption issues.
A1+ TV outlet, which was critical of Kocharyan, had lost its airways license under Kochayrna administration, after receiving 7 penalties. The network says the penalties were politically motivated and unfair.
They are now suing the Armenian govt to reverse the decision. The case is in court. They have the backing of the Freedom of Expression Committee NGO.
Armenia Airway's Yerevan-Tehran flight will not be canceled, says Civil Aviation. UR airlines will cancel its Erbil-Yerevan flight.
Canadian, British, US intel agencies and leaders earlier said Iran might have mistakenly shot the Tehran-Kyiev jet. The US administration says they aren't sure yet, but the satellite also captured heat traces of 2 Iranian missiles at the time when the jet went down. The incident happened around the time when Iran was firing rockets at an Iraqi base housing US and Iraqi forces, and Iran was on high alert about a possible US strike.
A video uploaded by an Iranian resident is believed to have captured the moment when the rocket explosion impacts the jet, followed by a moving fireball in the air (jet engine). Another Iranian resident recorded the moment when the jet descended and crashed. Iran refuses to hand over the black boxes to Boeing or others, despite agreeing to invite international experts at the scene. Iran claims the engine caught on fire due to a mechanical issue.
Russian Transport Ministry asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for permission to ask Armenia to consider launching Yerevan-Crimea flights.
Earlier, a Crimea-based politician claimed there will be flights by IKAR airlines this Summer. The news was dismissed by the Armenian Civil Aviation.
The Crimea topic is sensitive because Ukraine doesn't want other countries to fly there because it views Crimea as an illegally occupied territory.
Yerevan and Gyumri airports saw 3,169,144 passengers in 2019, up 11% since 2018.
Vanadzor city will join Yerevan and enforce stricter street food sales restrictions. Mayor complains that the downtown streets are turned into bazaars, citizens health is at risk due to unsanitary conditions, some sellers sold dangerous explosives for New Year celebrations, some of them have large illegal budkas.
Vanadzor's enforcement is lax during the agricultural harvest season to let farmers sell their goods, but they plan to warn, then begin removing illegal booths during other seasons.
A 20-year-old woman fell from an apartment complex's 7th floor and got entangled in the bottom neighbor's laundry wires. She was rescued with a ladder:
Yesterday Pashinyan got mad about taxi drivers "abusing tourists" with unusually high fees, swarming them in groups at the airport, etc.
Today the police launched a felony investigation to examine a December-2019 case in which a taxi driver charged a tourist $70 from airport to Marriott Hotel. At the time the tourist's friend complained in a viral post, accusing cabbies of spreading fake leaflets claiming to be an official airport taxi service.
This felony case is about breaking law 178.1, "theft of someone else's property through the means of fraud, lying or abuse of trust."
No one is charged at the moment.
In 2019 the Armenian Army had the fewest deaths in its modern history.
Total of 49 deaths: 14 were conscripts, 22 contractors, 13 officers.
15 were car accidents, 13 health issues, 10 suicides, 4 enemy fire, 4 murders, 1 accidental discharge, etc.
Over half of the deaths occurred in situations unrelated to service.
Deaths are down 22% vs 2018. Service-related deaths are down 47%. Suicides down 36%.
2018 was also concluded with better numbers than in 2017.
Yerevan municipality installed 20 new elevators in apartment complexes in 2019. They promised to install 100 in 2020.
Mayor Marutyan decided to increase that number to 500 due to increased revenues.
14.6k people visited museums over the holiday week. 11.9k paid for the ticket. 2.7k were kids who went for free.
Gyumri's Museum of Architecture and Urban Life had unprecedented 22,111 visitors in 2019.
Govt and Education Ministry made a decision to restore the Old Yerevan ruins that were discovered under the country's main Republic Square in 2003. After the discovery, it was covered with asphalt to turned into a road and pedestrian walkway.
Archeologists are excited about the restoration, but they think it'll be a big and hard task. Some structures are 22ft deep. We're talking about buildings that were built before legendary architect Alexander Tamanyan, a few hundred years ago from today (17-19th century).
Archeologist says some areas could be covered with a thick walkable glass. It's possible the area from singing fountains to Abovyan St. could turn into an open museum.
Some of the street areas would likely be gimped for the cars and turned into a pedestrian area, which would be a big project because the square is a big traffic hub entering the heart of the city.
If there is a final approval and funding, the restoration itself will require a short time.
The Old City is believed to stretch between Abovyan & Amriyan St, from Square to Kond district.
Videos of the old city: https://youtu.be/o9-Fl9mGRAE
Roma's 4 best goals of the month. Will Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal win the #1 spot?
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/emwkqe/jan102020_daily_anticorruption_news_summary_stay/
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