2020 June 17

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jun/17/2020 News: (1) Election fraud story. MPs held hostage. Death threats (2) Pashinyan criticizes NSS leaks (3) Tsarukyan's mother (4) BHK strikes back (5) Woman dies after falling victim to COVID micro-chip theory (6) Public TV. Fake news. Magic Wand. Foreign TV (7) Elder attend university (8)..
by ar_david_hh


Welcome to your daily Armenian news summary.

Tsarukyan's alleged death threats towards MPs / Hostages / Serj's election fraud

Former BHK and IND MP Hmayak Hovhanissyan recalls:

I made an agreement with Gago Tsarukyan and ran under BHK's ticket. Dozens of others also did.

In 2012, I was the chief of the Committee tasked with monitoring election integrity. Other MPs were also members.

During the Committee session, we decided to ask the Constitutional Court to require the govt to publish the Voter Lists to uncover any voter fraud committed by Serj. We began convincing Gago to support this idea.

Serj didn't like this, so he forced Gago to fire me and 13 other MPs.

Gago took the MPs hostage in his "konyachni" facility. In the next room, ex-PM Hovik "Muk" Abrahamyan's daughter was working as a govt-licensed notary. She would create resignation documents, then Gago would force MPs to sign it.

I was told by Serj's ally ARF Aghvan Vardanyan that Gago would organize a car incident and murder me if I refuse to resign. I was caring for my sick mother at the time; I couldn't lose my life. So I resigned.

--

How did Serj convince Gago to purge us?

In those days, Serj allowed Gago to exit the coalition and play opposition because Gago was becoming too big and powerful. Gago won 2x the votes in 2012, versus in 2007 when Gago's sponsor Kocharyan was still a president.

Serj dictated the terms: either Gago purges us, or Gago doesn't get his "independence". Gago chose to purge us.

--

What happened after they purged us?

They launched political persecution. Felony cases were launched against me. Our building belonging to the Union of Political Analysts was attacked. Without a license, they began physically destroying the building entrance.

--

Q: did you feel threatened they'd shoot you?

Hmayak: yes. Gago has 83 legal weapons alone. In 2019 his son Nver was part of the gang that murdered a man who was HzhK party's Kotayk province's office chief's grandson.

--

What now?

I'll ask General Prosecutor to launch a felony investigation against those who threatened us, who abused the notary system, who tried to destroy our facility.

Full: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5h24dWf_G0

Tag: #VoterFraud #ElectrionFraud #GagikTsarukyan #DodiGago #VoterList

Don't miss yesterday's news

...about BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan (Dodi Gago) having his immunity stripped: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ha9m9d/jun162020_news_1_how_a_2019_construction_bribery/?

ex-BHK MP is arrested

ex-BHK MP Abraham Manukyan was also mentioned by Prosecutors as a defendant during yesterday's memo about charging BHK chief Gago.

His charges are related to Gago's right-hand-man Arustamyan's case.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30675968.html , https://www.lragir.am/2020/06/17/556583/

Gago's mother's business was audited...

... back in May/2020. Multi Agro Gak's audits revealed that they consumed water all year yet the meter was showing only 600m3 (worth $250) usage.

The company claims the meter was broken because it was installed in a place that was flooded.

Gago's mother Roza asked the Utilities not to penalize her, citing "her old age, her good business record, and her history of making donations." Investigators are still investigating.

https://factor.am/260846.html

BHK strikes back with investigative committees

BHK wants to create two Parliamentary committees to investigate govt's response to COVID, and govt's decision to restrict large gatherings such as protests during COVID.

BHK plans to ask Constitutional Court (CC) to examine the protest restrictions. They asked LHK to join the effort because they need 2 more MPs to gather enough votes.

BHK Iveta, however, said they don't want to organize protests. "We'd do it if we wanted to [with the restrictions in place]."

When asked about endangering the public by organizing yesterday's protests, BHK got upset and denied organizing it.

There are numerous reports, including by Helsinki committee, that Gago's Ararat-Cement factory threatened to fire workers unless they protest.

--

Will LHK help BHK?

LHK Edmon said they've long called for the creation of the COVID-handling investigative committee, but they'll only join BHK if the committee is led by LHK.

As for a committee to allow protests, LHK Edmon said he asked Emergency Team to allow protests and he's waiting for a response.

--

Ruling QP welcomes the committee, saying it'll provide an opportunity to investigate BHK-linked circles "for spreading COVID conspiracy theories."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190422 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190445 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190442 , www.civilnet.am/news/2020/06/17/ԲՀԿ-ն-դիմելու-է-ՍԴ-ԼՀԿ-ն-պատասխան-առաջարկ-է-անում-«Իմ-քայլը»-գնահատում-է-«գերազանց»/387743

Pashinyan about NSS leaks / History of felonies against Gago

Pashinyan responding to Gago's claim that they're persecuted because of recent criticism:

July/5/2018 - BHK Edward Babayan (Gago's bodyguard) was charged, arrested, convicted.

Jan/29/2019 - Gago's son Nver was investigated over a murder incident. The house was raided.

Sep/20/2019 - Gago's STONES director Arustamyan is arrested for North-South highway fraud.

Dec/29/2019 - Gago's son-in-law Karapet Guloyan, a public official in Kotayk, was charged with embezzlement. They recovered the money.

Apr/23/2020 - Gago's Multi Group chief Arustamyan (same guy) is arrested as part of $22mln bribery case involving UCOM shareholder.

--

I noticed that NSS was purposely dragging its feet. Someone was leaking info. The NSS would go raid a house early in the morning, yet the homeowner knew ahead of time and was ready with the makeup and the clothes on.

Note: days before investigators revealed charges against Gago, someone from NSS leaked info to ArmLur outlet saying that "big arrests" are coming and that NSS's basements are being cleared in preparation.

Back to Pashinyan speech: the reason it's easier to bust Gago's alleged election fraud is that there is more paper trail, because his minions had to keep a record of their expenditures so they could show it to Gago. In contrast, in the case of HHK, every MP was spending their own money, so they didn't have to keep paper trail. Two different schemes.

https://factor.am/261082.html

Tags: ##NSSleaks #InsiderLeak

Venice Commission chief

"Armenia and Moldova toppled oligarchic regimes," said chief Buquicchio about a 2019 report. Soon they'll discuss whether Kocharyan can be charged with the law that he's charged with as part of the 2008 case.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190481 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1018788.html

Kocharyan wants to be free

Appeals Court is deciding whether to let him go pre-trial. The judge asked Robik to convince the court that the group of ex-PMs, who earlier vouched for Robik, will be able to guarantee Robik's good behavior if he's set free.

Robik told his life story and the relations with the ex-officials. Robik's children offered to hand over their apartments to court as an assurance Robik will behave.

Anti-Robik lawyer argued Robik hasn't changed, is a danger, and shouldn't be released.

Trial continues tomorrow.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190446 , https://factor.am/260969.html , https://factor.am/261053.html

Court is hearing Gago's case

With BHK Gago's immunity stripped, the court is deciding whether to arrest him pre-trial.

BHK supporters gathered outside of court. BHK Gevorg was given a ticket for not wearing a mask. ex-NSS Vanetsyan came to support Gago.

The trial continues tomorrow...

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190468 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190480 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190475

Public TV / COVID fake news / Foreign channels / MAGIC WAND

Parliament summoned the TV regulator to discuss upcoming reforms.

MPs: some outlets, who serve special interests, almost always invite members from the same political wing.

Regular: we won't require outlets to invite an equal number of members from each political party. It's more about the diversity of thought and representation on over-the-air TV. Both sides need to be given a chance to speak.

--

MP: some outlets spread dangerous COVID-skeptic fake news.

Regulator: outlets themselves don't spread misinformation directly. Sometimes they purposely invite guests who then spread misinformation. That's where 90% of the problem comes from. We penalized an outlet last month for not countering misinformation, but we can't violate their free speech. Emergency Taskforce is the one with more power.

--

MP: earlier you said Russian TVs broadcasted in Armenia pose a security threat.

Regulator: I didn't say Russian TV is a national security threat. It was about defending the Armenian language and programming on Armenian air. If 320 out of 400 programs are in a foreign language, doesn't that endanger Armenian? We struck a cooperation agreement with Russia's RosKomNodzor.

--

MP: are TVs making money?

Regulator: not between 2012-2016. In 2019 they declared 64% growth. We believe it's related to a reduction in the shadow economy. (aka magic wand)

--

MP: some outlets violate the law that requires them to play the Armenian anthem at 00:00.

Regulator: it's a pointless law. Get rid of it.

https://factor.am/260821.html , https://factor.am/260832.html , https://factor.am/260838.html , https://youtu.be/1sABradr06k?t=89 , http://arka.am/en/news/business/armenian_tv_channels_earnings_grew_by_64_percent_in_2019/

micro-chip conspiracy theory leads to woman's death

A 66yo Gyumri woman, a wife of a priest, refused to get COVID-tested twice, thinking the doctors will plant micro-chips in her. She died.

The whole family was infected. The husband managed to defeat the virus. The woman stayed home and refused to even visit a hospital, repeating that the doctors plan to microchip her.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190447

COVID stats

+544 infected. +243 healed. +9 deaths.

10818 active. 6814 healed. 87600 tests.

https://factor.am/260815.html

all conscripts will be tested

... before participating in the lottery, thanks to Tovmasyan Foundation's donation. It applies to Summer conscripts. 1-hour anti-body detection kits will be used.

https://razm.info/143277

taxi drivers protect themselves

... from potential carriers. Some of them installed plastic wraps between the passenger seats and the front. Pashinyan shared the pic and praised the move.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190421

it's not growing as fast as predicted

Healthcare Minister Torosyan published the graph of predicted vs actual infections, saying the public awareness campaigns in the past 10 days is showing results. "The situation is still serious. Wear masks. Wash hands. Keep a distance."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190438

dexamethasone

... is a drug that was recently found to help save COVID lives. It's been used for other purposes for half a century, including in Armenia, in emergency rooms for critical patients, at the prescription of a doctor. It costs $2.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190451

Artsakh is under attack

... by a swarm of "silk weaving" bugs. 641 ha forests were damaged and their growth rate will be cut in half. Govt needs a helicopter to spray the forests. Last year they sprayed 10,000 ha.

The spraying needs to be done in Spring to be effective.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/118425

more elder choose to attend universities

Yesterday we learned that the education reforms, which led to requiring only 1 admission exam for universities, coupled with an online registration platform, caused a big spike in applications. 14.5k in 2020 vs 9.4k in 2019.

Before, you'd see a few "elder" applicants who returned to school after 10 years of absence. This year there were 184 applicants aged 26-54. Some returned after 25 years of absence.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190359

250-year streak is broken

Village Chkalov will finally have gas pipes, after 250 years of its foundation. For now, it'll be for businesses.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/190380

COVID riots on Russia border

700 Azeris are stuck in unsanitary tents in Southern Russia near the Azeri border. They can't get in due to travel restrictions. They blame Aliyev govt of inaction.

Yesterday 400 of them closed a street, attacked cars, rioted and clashed with Russian police. Police fired shots. 50 protesters and 7 cops were injured. Hundreds detained.

This has been happening for a month. Russian local authorities initially took care of them but eventually asked Aliyev to hurry up with organizing the evacuations.

The refugees are unaware of how the evacuation plan works. A small group was earlier evacuated, leaving the rest feel abandoned and angry.

https://youtu.be/9nJdNSUOBC8

https://www.barrons.com/news/azerbaijanis-blocked-in-russia-after-virus-clash-with-police-01592316023?tesla=y

https://jam-news.net/azerbaijanis-conflict-in-dagestan/

https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-russia-azerbaijan/russian-police-injured-in-clashes-with-azeris-stranded-by-coronavirus-travel-curbs-idUSL8N2DT24L


Link to original report and comments: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hax7s9/jun172020_news_1_election_fraud_story_mps_held/

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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