2020 January 29
Jan/29/2020 :: 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.
There is a report about former president Serj Sargsyan's brother Alexander and his "illegal undeclared businesses" in the United States. But first, let's learn about some of his businesses in Armenia.
He registered Hana MEK to do an ad billboard business. The word HaNa stands for Hayk/Narek, his son's names. The firm is suspended.
Son Narek registers Hana-Trans to do interstate cargo transport. Former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan gave him a 3-year tax waiver to import 40 vehicles. In 2012 the govt gave him some building. By then the owner was Alexander Sargsyan himself (son left, father took over). The firm had 2x fewer jobs than it promised would create while getting the tax waiver. The firm is suspended.
Son Narek registers HanaService (in the same office as Hana-Trans), which later went under father Alexander's possession again. Currently suspended.
2 people register Hana-Vard then transfer it to Narek Sargsyan, then to father Alexander. It was as a car servicing firm. Shut down.
Now about the US work and the alleged law violations:
Alexander registered construction-related Hana Corporation. He became the director, treasurer, and accountant. This was against the Armenian law because he was a Parliament MP in Armenia (2003-2012).
Hana opens an office in Glendale.
He buys a $2.8mln house in Tarzana, L.A. More on that in my archived posts. Use search.
Then Hana's office is moved from Glendale to Tarzana. He is registered as the CEO, accountant, and treasurer, again with a violation of the law.
Hana is renamed to Hanalek (Hayk/Narek/Aleksander). It's still active.
Hana's child company is Alek Constructions registered in California in 2008. This was, again, transferred to Tarzana and he was registered as the person in charge, against the law.
In 2007 be decided to spice things up and registered a new firm called NaHa (Narek/Hayk), instead of HaNa (Hayk/Narek). Smart man. Registered in Tarzana again.
In 2009 Narek Sargsyan founded Naha Import Export.
Full report inside:
TV regulating body issued 6.2mln worth penalties to 12 TV networks in 2019 alone. During 2011-2018 it only issued 10 fines worth <6mln.
Committee chief Tigran Hakobyan said:
Unprecedented year. The only difference is that the agency started to do its duties. One channel was fined for a specific horror scene. Some were fined for religious discrimination propaganda, others for copyright infringement. No one is above the law.
Networks became more mindful. We work with them before issuing a fine. Only after months of explaining them about ad rules violations, we began penalizing after they failed to fix the issues. Some of our decisions are being challenged in court. It's welcoming because the process was moved to the legal sphere.
While the law mandates information's impartiality and balance, we need amendments to the law to better fight "hate speech". The "hate speech" cannot be regulated on TV because the law itself isn't clear on what it is.
When it comes to information impartiality, both sides' views should be mentioned by the network. If one side refuses to speak with the network, the latter can contact us, as the procedure dictates, so we can serve as a middle man.
The former regime's media outlets continue the fake news campaign targeted towards PM Pashinyan's family.
Info was circulated alleging that Pashinyan's niece Diana Pashinyan spent $1.5mln to open a luxury beauty salon in Novorossiysk, Russia and that she also owns hotels in Ijevan, where Pashinyan's family comes from.
It turns out Pashinyan doesn't have a niece or a relative named Diana Pashinyan. They contacted the woman and she turned out to be a random woman who recently got married and took the husband's last name, who also has no connections with Pashinyan. They also said they don't own hotels in Ijevan.
The fake news was circulated by Iravunk, Hayeli, 7or, Tert.am, 168, times.am, and Analitik.
Several activists from the anti-Soros "Adekvad" gang and "VETO" movement were arrested yesterday under the suspicions of possessing drugs and guns. They were released hours later.
Soros' Open Society NGO chief Larisa Minasyan "defended" the anti-Soros activists saying the police applied excessive force while arresting them.
(The Open Society NGO has long publicly asked the police to take measures against the activists for blocking NGO's entrance and not allowing NGO to operate.) https://youtu.be/FBVblxGknks?t=475
The NGO presented several "lies" they claim the anti-Soros activists are spreading to discredit the NGO. List: https://factor.am/217574.html
Justice Ministry is expanding the team of experts tasked with discussing the proposed Constitutional changes (voting and party winning rules, see my archived posts). Today they picked 6 legal scholars and 2 NGO chiefs. Up to 16 can be in it. The former HHK Justice Minister Arpine Hovhanisyan wasn't selected.
The team: Justice Minister, Armenian representative in European Court for Human Rights, Human Rights Ombudsman, 1 judge, 6 legal scholars, 2 NGOs, 1 QP, 1 LHK, 1 BHK, Parliament's legal affairs chief. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179175
QP MP Alen Siimonyan earlier raised an alarm about Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan making several unannounced visits abroad, suggesting that such high ranking officials should be more transparent about their foreign activities. Tovmasyan was also accused of colluding with HHK to act as their political wing in the court.
IND MP Babajanyan added: there are risks he could become a subject of foreign influence during these undeclared trips. To this day we don't know the full details of his meeting with the Russian ambassador in Armenia organized by the RU embassy. Foreign Ministry or govt should have a presence during such meetings. We should invite Tovmasyan to Parliament so he explain his trips. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179140
Former president Robert Kocharyan: I'm destined to play a crucial role in getting rid of the Pashinyan administration. Pashinyan did what Azeris couldn't in the 90s, which was to capture and arrest me. A new political sphere will form in 2020 and it'll attract politically active citizens. http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/277372/
QP MP Christine Poghosyan asked IRS to audit BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan's gas station in front of his mansion because there are reports of it not printing sales receipts (possibly tax evasion). https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179137
The anti-monopoly agency's report on fuel importers shows a sharp increase in diesel importers:
2017: 4 benzin importers
2019: 5 (CPS Corp, Flesh, MaxPetrol, Platinum, CPS Oil)
2017: 6 Diesel importers
A bus traveling from Armenia to Georgia was turned back at the border because 2 Chinese tourists had a fever. Presumably, the same two were then admitted to Norq hospital. They lacked the symptoms of Chinese bololavirus. They are quarantined.
The recent epidemic has resulted in more Armenians visiting clinics out of precautions while having ordinary fevers. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179107
Armenia does not have the biological tools (reagent) to detect the bololavirus in a lab because Armenia is viewed as a low-risk country for not having direct flights with China. Armenia has to send the sample to one of the 3 European labs to get the results. Same about the Caucasus. The reagents were only distributed to high-risk nations as a priority.
Healthcare Ministry can get the reagent in 10 days if necessary. Bololavirus causes pneumonia, which can be detected by other means.
6 Armenians are living in Wuhan, China: 3 students and 3 contract workers. They're staying home. The MFA is staying in touch with them.
NOW THE GOOD NEWS: outside of China, so far sick people have not infected healthy people.
Food Safety committee is temporarily prohibiting imports of Chinese-origin seafood. Agricultural products are allowed. 1 ton of seafood imported just before the January 26th ban will be allowed to be sold. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179095
Australian scientists are close to having the vaccine. By the time it passes the regulations and tests, it will be mid-2020 and it may not even be necessary because the virus could be defeated by then.
Soruce: TV man with a suit.
Japan has donated 22 firetrucks to Armenia as part of a 2017 grant. The inventory has arrived. Emergency Minister Tsolakyan thanked the ambassador Yamada. The vehicles will be used in provinces.
Armenia is waiting for another 26 firetrucks from Russia.
Minister: we need trucks with 50-meter ladders. Govt will organize an auction and purchase some. We also need equipment to evacuate people.
Pashinyan administration launched an audit of April-2016 military leaderships' and officials' actions to see if protocols were violated allowing Azerbaijan to invade 2 hills.
Today the former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan testified for 4 hours to answer 30 questions. He was in a "good mood".
Ohanyan: "the military did its job great and it was able the thwart enemy's advancements. There were no critical violations of protocols. Some officials were sacked for unsatisfactory work after the events. Some of the resource problems were a result of complications caused by combat activities."
It'll take several months for the committee to finish its work.
Pashinyan published a 2016 video showing the QP party's voluntary military squad singing an army song after finishing their border patrolling duty in Martakert. Some familiar faces in it. PM is the cameraman.
SOC is doing serious audits in the Defense Ministry for the first time. They'll review the contracts, supplies, business dealings. https://factor.am/217606.html
NSS recently busted a newborn child trafficking ring that lasted for years after affected >30 kids. 5 suspects were identified.
A court allowed 1 to walk free on bail. Today the Appeals Court satisfied the prosecutors' petition and revoked the bail to send her back to jail. Prosecutors are challenging other suspects' bail release. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179154
Pashinyan earlier presented 100 changes in 2019 and mentioned that the top 1,000 taxpayers paid a lot more in taxes. He gave more info today:
Top 10 taxpayers paid 10% more.
191 firms paid >1bln in taxes (up from 141/166 in 2017/18)
361 firms paid >500mln (was 285/320 in 2017/18).
555 paid >100mln (was 415/497)
Education Ministry, UN, and IFES foundation created the "Involved Citizens" initiative for 5 Armenian universities. Students will be taught about human rights and democracy. Teachers will be retained. 55 Universities in Ukraine and Georgia have the program. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179211
PACE held a meeting. It turns out the Azeri delegate has been sleeping under the rock. He brought up now-QP MP Sisak Gabrielyan as a journalist (years ago he was) who had his journalistic work hindered, while making a point about how bad the freedom of the press is in Armenia.
The Armenian delegation responded explaining that the Azeri delegate had an "outdated information." They mentioned various institutes' assessment that the press has become freer in Armenia.
It was also mentioned that Azerbaijan has, by far, the worst human rights record among the 3 Caucasus republics. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179158
PACE accepted a resolution that seeks to condemn the Azeri govt for human rights and press freedom violations. 18 bogus lawsuits against the press since 2017. 5 journalists are in prison. Meanwhile, 400 pro-Aliyev journalists were given apartments. https://factor.am/217612.html
Henrikh Migidarian won his 9th best Armenian soccer player title, gathering 109 points. His opponent Sargis Adamyan (German Hoffenheim) fell short 5 points.
Ararat's coach Vardan Minasyan won the best coach award.
Jury: media outlets, team coaches, team captains.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/evslgz/jan292020_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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