2020 June 16

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jun/16/2020 News: (1) How a 2019 construction bribery bust led to a chain-investigation that uncovered documents about opposition leader's election fraud (2) BHK chief Tsarukyan loses immunity (3) Busing in non-Yerevan residents to vote in Yerevan (4) Tsarukyan's folks return 259mln (5) ID and glove
by ar_david_hh


Turbulent day ahead for Gagik Tsarukyan

On Sunday we learned that BHK party chief Gagik Tsarukyan (Dodi Gago) was charged as part of voter fraud and casino fraud investigation that began in Feb/1/2020. Today the Parliament will decide to strip him of immunity or not.

It was revealed that Gago's son Nver was also questioned by NSS.

Workers from Gago's Shangri La casino, Arinj Mall and Ararat Cement factory began organizing for a protest this morning.

--

Pashinyan: anyone who prevents free elections, evades taxes and law, should be investigated and held accountable. Freedom and democracy have no alternative in Armenia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190301

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190306

https://hetq.am/hy/article/118374

HHK, ARF, and ex-NSS Vanetsyan..

... condemned the felony case against Gago, calling it political persecution by Pashinyan who's "desperate to hold on to his power".

https://factor.am/260652.html

NSS: several BHK MPs engaged with massive voter fraud

NSS report says: For several years, during local and federal elections, BHK MPs directly or through proxies paid bribes to voters.

May/14/2017 Yerevan elections were one example. BHK pressured non-Yerevan residents, as well as >100k Yerevan residents living outside of Yerevan, to temporarily visit the capital and cast a ballot.

Documents were forged to pretend they were Yerevan residents, so they'd gain the right to vote. They were bused back to their towns after the elections.

--

High profile BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan, the chief of Parliament's Human Rights Committee, while privately speaking to her party colleagues, referred to voters as "sheep and sectarians" after the 2018 post-revolution elections.

During private conversations, she admitted the fact that BHK was able to gain the votes through election fraud all these years. "It turns out BHK has no support in Armenia without voter bribery... will we finally face the truth?", said Zohrabyan after elections during a private convo.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190309

NSS raids BHK Zohrabyan's office

Her BHK party office was searched by law enforcement.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190310

Yerevan construction bribery case leads to voter fraud bust / How it began

In Feb/2020 NSS arrested Yerevan's Urban Development chief Vermishyan for alleged bribery. He confessed.

At the time it was unclear how big that story was. It turns out this is what led to Gago's voter fraud bust.

--

General Prosecutor Davtyan said: in 2019, Yerevanshin bribed Yerevan's Urban Development (UD) chief to let the firm do illegal construction.

Yerevanshin company director also wanted to receive the title of "Honorary Builder of Armenia", so he paid 2.4mln bribe to UD chief. NSS audited Yerevanshin's office as part of that bribery and found evidence of BHK's voter bribery scheme in Gegharquniq (10k to each voter, bribe to students, etc.)

Yerevanshin's director confessed to participating in the scheme. He said in 2017 Gago offered him a seat in Parliament if he can secure [buy] 9k votes from Gegharquniq. They asked Gago's right-hand man Sedrak Arustamyan [$22mln bribery case guy] and another man to handle the financial part, which they did. Documents confirming his story were found.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190316

Gago's allies protest outside Parliament

BHK organized a protest in front of Parliament. A police-wall was formed. Anti-riot gear is present. Protesters are warned against overcrowding during COVID.

177 were briefly detained. Many were BHK's "youth wing" activists. Among the detained was the 2008 Olympics Bronze winner Roman Amoyan. (Gago leads Armenia's Olympics work)

--

Gago's Multi-Group company, run by Sedrak Arustamyan who is charged with $22mln bribery and North-South highway fraud, used its trucks to close the Acharyan street.

Nearby residents pushed the trucks away to open the streets.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190311

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190318

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190320

Multi-Group truck https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190333

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190342

Truck push https://youtu.be/D7xe5jMMXzk

Parliament is discussing Gago Tsarukyan's immunity

Gago himself was present during the session. General Prosecutor Davtyan came to ask MPs to strip his immunity. BHK MPs called it political persecution and targeted enforcement.

--

BHK Iveta: fairy tales. None of the fraud cases are related to Gago (meaning he isn't directly running the firms on paper).

Prosecutor: what we published is the tiny portion of evidence against Gago. More than enough evidence exists to charge him.

--

LHK Edmon: if the case began in February, why didn't you press charges in February?

Prosecutor: we had to gather enough evidence to be sure. Lots of audits were done since February.

--

LHK Gurgen: if you find more evidence against Gago, will you send another petition to Parliament?

Prosecutor: yes. We're at an early stage. His activities in other provinces will be examined.

--

BHK MP: where were you when the police were dragging away women during yesterday's protests?

QP MP: where were you when Serj was dragging away grieving mothers dressed in black? That's right, you were holding a meeting with Serj. [shows a picture depicting Gago and Serj]

You were selling 300k votes to HHK in 2008 then being hired as controlled opposition.

You were gifting Serj a leopard with a diamond chain, which by the way, wasn't properly registered.

Forgive us for not being as good as you are because we don't have casinos, cement factories, and mansions on top of the hills.

&nvsp;

BHK Enfiajyan held a sign saying "you won't silence us."

--

IND MP Babajanyan: this is a fight against the oligarchy, which the govt should have done long ago. It's a fight against those with foreign owners.

--

BHK Gago to MPs: it all began after my June 5th speech to replace the govt. Nikol lied about his promises. When I signed an agreement for cooperation with him, it was to help the people. You can't govern a country with Facebook and fake accounts. You failed the fight against the pandemic. You ruined the relations with all countries and failed to create a plan for Artsakh's international recognition.

90% of people believed in the revolution. Today not even 5% do.

[During his speech Gago accidentally admitted that he's a businessman, before correcting himself that he's a "business-owner". He can't legally run business and be MP.]

Starts https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190308

BHK Iveta https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190314

More provinces https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190317

LHK Edmon https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190323

Enfiajyan https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190341

where were you? https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190362

Full Gago speech: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190332

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190338

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190361

Parliament holds a closed vote to strip immunity

Gago, as always in a good mood and chatty with reporters, left the Parliament building accompanied by NSS.

BHK and LHK are against stripping his immunity.

QP MPs, joined by IND MP, voted unanimously 87-0 to suspend Gago's immunity so he can be charged.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190345

https://youtu.be/QLiAFYQdX2w

Parliament held a vote to allow his arrest

With the immunity gone, Parliament is voting whether to allow prosecutors to arrest Gago.

Approved unanimously 87-0.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190360

Tags: #GagikTsarukyan #DodiGago

Gago is being formally charged

Gago is currently being charged. He left the building, free for now. His case is sent to a court for permission to arrest for 2 months pre-trial.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190391

Gago's son-in-law returns a stolen cash

Dodi Gago runs the Kotayk province. Abovyan city is his stronghold.

Earlier, Cadastre Committee's Abovyan branch director, and Abovyan's ex-BHK mayor (Gago's son-in-law), were charged with embezzlement of 10ha lands and related crimes.

Today they recovered the 295mln in full.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190366

COVID stats

+425 infected. +10 deaths.

10529 active. 6571 healed. 293 deaths. 85556 tested.

In the past month, 25% of 4k audited businesses were found to violate safety.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190315

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190386

Must carry ID with you

Pashinyan: starting tomorrow, residents must carry IDs while outside. It's needed to increase the efficiency of issuing tickets. Not having ID will result in another AMD 10k ticket.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190368

Glove requirement removed

Pashinyan: new research made us remove the requirement to wear gloves. Gloves can cause more problems. Wash your hands frequently instead.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190368

Fake news and transparency

Pashinyan: we've been maximally transparent about the situation from the start, yet some circles still spread rumors.

Fake news about govt inflating numbers. About govt hiding data. About govt holding a secret gay conference in Golden Palace hotel under the guise of housing COVID patients. About COVID being fake.

The family member of one of these COVID skeptics recently got infected with COVID.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190368

big spike in uni. applications

5,124 more people applied for universities vs 2019.

Ministry believes it could be because of recent reforms that require only 1 admission exam.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190325

cyber-weed

A man was arrested for using Telegram to sell weed to Yerevan residents. He would fill a can with weed and leave it at a secret location in a city for the client to pick up.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1018654.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ha9m9d/jun162020_news_1_how_a_2019_construction_bribery/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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