2020 June 16
- 1 Anti-Corruption Daily
- 2 Turbulent day ahead for Gagik Tsarukyan
- 3 HHK, ARF, and ex-NSS Vanetsyan..
- 4 NSS: several BHK MPs engaged with massive voter fraud
- 5 NSS raids BHK Zohrabyan's office
- 6 Yerevan construction bribery case leads to voter fraud bust / How it began
- 7 Gago's allies protest outside Parliament
- 8 Parliament is discussing Gago Tsarukyan's immunity
- 9 Parliament holds a closed vote to strip immunity
- 10 Parliament held a vote to allow his arrest
- 11 Gago is being formally charged
- 12 Gago's son-in-law returns a stolen cash
- 13 COVID stats
- 14 Must carry ID with you
- 15 Glove requirement removed
- 16 Fake news and transparency
- 17 big spike in uni. applications
- 18 cyber-weed
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
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.
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".
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.
NSS raids BHK Zohrabyan's office
Her BHK party office was searched by law enforcement.
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.
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.
Multi-Group truck https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190333
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.
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.]
More provinces https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190317
where were you? https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190362
Full Gago speech: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190332
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.
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.
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.
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.
+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.
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.
Glove requirement removed
Pashinyan: new research made us remove the requirement to wear gloves. Gloves can cause more problems. Wash your hands frequently instead.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|