2020 January 17
Jan/17/2020 :: Daily news collection from Armenia :: Stay informed about the Anti-Corruption busts, Politics, Economy, Diaspora, Daily Life, 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.
Former 2016-2018 NSS chief Georgi Kutoyan's dead body has been found with a gunshot wound to the head.
The body of the 38-year-old Kutoyan was discovered by his wife and father in the apartment. A Glock gun was found near the body. It was a souvenir gift from a Georgian security official. The wound was to the side of the head.
There were >40 bullet holes on the walls. Media reports that a bottle of cognac was found near his body. A criminal case has been launched about "driving someone to suicide", which is a standard procedure and doesn't necessarily mean it was a suicide, the investigation could reveal more details.
Investigators shut down the area for examination. They'll review CCTVs.
Cybersecurity expert says that yesterday, someone with an account named "Georgi Kutoyan", logged into Wikipedia and tried to delete Kutoyan's entire page. Another user discovered and restored it minutes later. It repeated one more time. The expert says it's possible to find out if it was Kutoyan who removed his own page by looking at the IP address.
Kutoyan was president Serj Sargsyan's aide between 2011-2016. In 2011-2014 he was the chief of Serj's anti-corruption agency.
Former HHK Justice Minister and Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan was also at the scene and emotional
. He tried to enter the room but he was prevented. (looks like they were friends)
Labor Minister Batoyan: he was our neighbor. He seemed modest and nice, had a nice family and a small child. It's sad news.
Serj: I'm saddened by the news, my deep condolences, we will wait and observe the investigation.
Attorney and public figure Arthur Sakunts says: his death is not beneficial to Pashinyan administration. Kutoyan worked during a period when powers were appropriated. He knew a lot about the inner workings of the former govt.
A few months ago attorney Sakunts asked law enforcement to question Kutoyan about the 2018 disappearance of documents from the NSS archive. At the time the new NSS chief Vanetsyan said some documents disappeared before he took the office. Kutoyan served as NSS chief during 2016-2018. He was not a subject of any investigation by SIS at the time of his death.
What else do we know about Kutoyan?
From my Apr/19/2019 news report:
Artsakh veteran and former army commander Samvel Babayan (anti-Serj politician) and his friends were arrested a few years ago, for allegedly purchasing an illegal Igla missile unit and money laundering.
One of the defendants claimed the NSS agents told him to write a false report against Samvel Babayan, and in exchange, he would meet president Serj Sargsyan and receive a reward of being able to go anywhere in the world. He says he refused to write the false report.
The defendant also said: The NSS, including its then chief Georgi Kutoyan, told him that Babayan is a curse for the country and must be behind the bars and that if he doesn't cooperate, the NSS will set him up with crimes he didn't commit. "They didn't give me a mattress in prison for 6 months to pressure me."
Wikipedia logs https://factor.am/214538.html
Attorney Sakunts https://factor.am/214520.html
Bullets on walls https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178306
Hrayr Tovmasyan https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178312
October 27 terror
October 27 terror attack was followed by 2 investigations, one of which was about whether terrorist Nairi Hunanyan had sponsors or help. At some point, Hunanyan had claimed he had. He claimed Kocharyan's chief of staff was aiding him.
Former investigator Jhangiryan says this case was illegally shut down by Kocharyan administration. Hunanyan ended up retracting his claims about Kocharyan's chief of staff. Jhangiryan said there was pressure by the regime to end the investigation, and that he'll cooperate once the case reopens.
Among the things that were supposed to be investigated was whether security officials knew about the upcoming attack but failed to act. There are multiple admissions that NSS officials had heard from Hunanyan, who wasn't a random person but a known figure, about his plans to attack Parliament, but nothing was done. Despite this, the case was shut down and no officials were found to have committed negligence.
A few months ago terror victim families argued that the case was closed illegally and they weren't properly notified about it, or its progress. They hired a lawyer. Prosecutors agreed to reopen the case.
Today Nairi Hunanyan sent a letter to Pashinyan, presumably about restoring the investigation, and his willingness to testify.
Terror victim family petitioned for the reopened investigation to be transferred from NSS to SIS.
EU supports the ongoing justice reforms, acknowledging improvements in human rights conditions in Armenia due to ongoing reforms, says more can be done about mistreatment cases.
EU ambassador Wiktorin says they're observing the situation around Constitutional Court chief Tovmasyan being charged, but they don't have any comments.
Breaking: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan terrorizes journalists with a snowball while entering the QP office. It's breaking news because it's snowing in winter. Thanks, Australia.
As for QP's meeting with PM, they have been discussing how to better use Parliament to cooperate with Foreign and other Ministries.
They also discussed "civility" of public debates. Parliament deputy speaker QP MP Lena Nazaryan condemned the idea by some people that Pashinyan's family members should keep quiet and not participate in politics.
snow across Armenia
It's a white day in Yerevan. 28 trucks were dispatched to pour salt and sand across the city. Mayor Marutyan bragged about how fast they cleaned the streets, "people on social media are complaining that it finally snowed but they didn't have a chance to see the white streets".
Marutyan: I met with PM today to discuss some issues. There is an unprecedented rise in the amount of construction permit petitions in Yerevan. We welcome the activation by builders, but this results in approvals being slow which results in complaints.
Gyumri was also covered in snow: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/178263
diasporans in govt
The Diaspora Committee will have a pilot program to allow 20 diasporan specialists with Masters's Degree to influence the govt by working at various agencies. The goal is to import some brains.
Economists, techies, lawyers, etc. will be able to apply online and pick which institute they prefer to work. The pay will be minimal, the point isn't to make money.
It starts on July 1st and lasts a year. Govt pays for a round trip.
EcoNews environmentalist outlet is upset that BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan's little Bengali tiger is being "abused for Instagram photoshoots".
There are no laws regulating such animal abuse, moreover, in the future, the law could worsen the oversight of exotic animals. This baby tiger was born in Tsarukyan's zoo. As always, Nature Ministry is displaying inaction when it comes to this topic. Ministry said, "Tsarukyan isn't registered as an owner of this exotic animal in the database". We have info that recently some animals escaped his zoo but were safely caught.
Do you have a smoke and carbon alarm in every room?
A house exploded and turned into rubble in Zar village. The blast knocked off part of the roof of the neighboring building. 2 people injured.
clinic director busted
Meghri medical center director has been charged with corruption.
Since 2017 he's been forging docs and stealing property. He instructed staff to falsify medical docs to defraud the disability aid system. Rerouted patients to wrong departments thus endangering their health. Falsified 911 call records to steal fuel money allegedly used by the ambulance cars. Instructed staff to falsify employment records to embezzle cash.
A felony case is launched.
NSS vs former Yerevan officials
NSS busted the former deputy head of Yerevan's Arabkir district and others with a 2012-2015 bribery and corruption worth hundreds of millions.
The official abused powers and, at the expense of state funds, gave freebies to a firm that was doing construction for his family.
He also demanded the construction firm give him and other officials apartments and garages in one of the firm's ongoing projects, or else the officials would not allow the firm to operate. The firm gave the properties in 2015-2017.
A felony case is launched.
Levon Ter-Petrosyan's party: bring back a semi-presidential system
գլուխտ մի կեր
Artsakh-Arin Berd intersection in Yerevan will become safer for pedestrians and drivers. The speed limit is lowered from 70 to 60 km/h. There is a camera that records speeding and will issue tickets.
do you like your job?
21% of Yerevan residents don't like their job.
46% would not change their job even if an opportunity arrives.
46% would change their job despite being satisfied with the current job.
Those working at foreign firms reported the highest satisfaction, but 60% said they'd change their job if the opportunity arrived.
On the other hand, only 24% of public sector workers are satisfied with work, yet 57% of them wouldn't change their job.
89% of NGO workers are satisfied. 79% of the private sector is satisfied.
The famous statues "Արձագանք" and "Անվերջության ժապավեն" located along the Yerevan-Sevan freeway will be renovated. It was one of Pashinyan's promises and he vowed he'd do it with personal money if necessary.
Education Ministry will renovate it. They'll also install other accommodations such as lighting near the statues.
won't lose aid
Govt wants to encourage people to work without the fear of losing poverty aid.
Working at a wide range of construction, manufacturing and agricultural jobs will not result in a suspension of aid.
Full list https://factor.am/214641.html
"Tumanyan's Fairy Tales directed by Henrik Malyan could probably be included in Guinness World Records", says one theater artist. The performance created by Henrik Maylan has been performed for 39 years. Recently the group went to Moscow and performed for kids who barely spoke Armenian, "they enjoyed it".
In Paris, the audience was mostly adults, "who couldn’t keep laughing throughout it. The play is staged in a way that it features some parts that adults may perceive better".
Update: Civil Aviation chief Revazyan collected 335k in tips by working as a waiter at the Roomz restaurant yesterday. The money will go towards a 6yo kid's surgery.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/eq5f5w/jan172020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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