2020 May 20

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Anti-Corruption Daily

May/20/2020 News: (1) Programming classes for COVID victims (2) HayPost deliveries (3) Test production (4) Bribery uncovers wider scheme (5) "Cigarette smuggling" update (6) Ex-oligarch cases more charges (7) Sales receipts plummet (8) Vroooom (9) Dod Exotic (10) Gold plates for $ (11) Stolen statue
by ar_david_hh

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.


Official gives bribe to another official, snitches, uncovers wider fraud

Things have been busy in Gyumri's Police Forces department lately. The report says:

The chief of Finances Department of another unit walked into a station and confessed that in 2019 he gave a $1,000 bribe to an official to secure a job for his wife. The official then transferred the bribe to the commander.

The bribe-taker official was called in for questioning. The latter blamed the commander. He also admitted that in 2017-2019 the commander organized an electricity embezzlement scheme worth millions. Similarly, the official claims the commander embezzled gas.

A felony case is launched.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188387

Armenian suicide drone

Artsakh army has been holding military exercises lately. SMERCH and tanks were used.

They also tested an in-house designed/modified suicide drone. "It's not any worse than popular international models, and can be easily remote controlled."

https://youtu.be/dElIbFSVuAE

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188327 , http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/281239/

Outlet's chief editor targets Civil Aviation chief on Facebook

Human Rights Ombudsman got mad after shame.am's chief editor Artiom Khachaturyan wrote an "unacceptable hate speech" directed towards CA chief Revazyan and her newborn baby. The police are investigating the reports.

(The stricter law against hate speech went into effect a few days ago, after Sarkissian signed it, but it's unclear if it applies here.)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188317 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188333 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188344

Cigarette smuggling story / More fake claims busted

Context: A business group leased a jet from Russia to fly cigarettes to Afghanistan through Russia. The jet was allegedly confiscated by Russian authorities because it was illegally unloaded in Russia instead of flying to Afghanistan. Former regime's news outlets, without evidence, accused Pashinyan's family of being behind the "smuggling". It prompted a defamation lawsuit.

--

Today IRS chief Ananyan said they never received a report from Russia about illegal smuggling, so he can't comment on specifics. "The paperwork submitted to Armenian IRS was legal."

FIP outlet investigated several claims made by Serj's fugitive son-in-law Mikael Minasyan, and found that Minasyan misquoted certain materials to mislead the viewers by claiming Pashinyan personally must have known about the flight "because such flights require a govt approval under emergency".

Minasyan also claimed the govt tried to cover it up by removing all flight records about the jet. However, FIP outlet found the flight data in the Civil Aviation database. As for no records in Zvartnots airport, Hetq outlet investigators found that the database in question only contains non-charter passenger flights.

https://fip.am/11516

Serj's assets will remain frozen...

...ruled the court today. It was frozen after he was charged with 0.5bln fuel embezzlement.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188356

ANOTHER ONE (not by Dj. Khaled)

Ex-oligarch and HHK MP Nemets Rubo (Ruben Hayrapetyan) was earlier hit with felony charges. He and his son are now facing new unrelated charges.

Rubo's lawyer tells their version of events: It's about Rubo's Harsnaqar restaurant. The director, without the knowledge of Rubo, stole 57mln by forging loan documents and used it to open his own business and to buy cars. Rubo found out and demanded back the cash. It was partially returned.

Rubo left Armenia in March and cannot return due to COVID restrictions. Prosecutors refused to handle the case online.

http://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/05/20/Ռուբեն-Հայրապետյանն-ու-նրա-որդին-նոր-գործով-ներգրավվել-են-որպես-մեղադրյալ-փաստաբան/385272

SOC finds improper financial spending...

... in Philharmonic Orchestra's and Sundukyan Theater's 2015-2016 renovation work, worth 188mln. The findings are sent to prosecutors.

https://factor.am/251591.html

Utility Regulators are still examining...

...whether to allow Gazprom-Armenia to raise internal gas prices by ~11% for consumers. They have 1 month to decide.

So far Russia is refusing to reduce border gas price, which could provide Gazprom-Armenia the flexibility not to raise internal prices for consumers, who currently pay ~$285 m3.

https://factor.am/251600.html

COVID stats

+230 infected. +255 healed. +3 deaths. 5271 all-time. 2758 active.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188328

Don't go to the airport

Your relatives will be taken to an isolated quarantine upon landing. You can't greet them.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188340

Sales receipts plummet during April lockdown

Printed sales receipts: -31%

Turnover: -42%

Pre-COVID there was a ~20% growth in both.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188283

Restaurant owners and showbiz members protested...

...the COVID restrictions, in front of govt building. They want permission to operate restaurants with fewer restrictions. "People have debt. I have multiple kids yet only got 68k in aid so far," said singer-actor Sargis Grigoryan who owns a restaurant and went to protest on behalf of workers.

"Some clients call and say they have 15 people, but I have to turn them away because the max allowed capacity is 5," said the singer. "Why even have a limit of 5 if you allow 200 customers split into groups of 5?"

--

The police warned the protesters, some of whom had no masks, against overcrowding. They briefly detained and issued 50k tickets to the singer and 5 others for ignoring police warnings.

PM's office met protesters to discuss their ideas on how they imagine resuming wedding and other ceremonies safely. The protesters left, awaiting for Emergency Taskforce's decision.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188349 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188351 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188357 , https://youtu.be/jhnz5k6iPWw

Police briefly detained 17 members...

... of street gang turned political party Adekvad, after they gathered in front of a police station in support of their member who was answering questions. The police say the group ignored the warnings against mass gatherings. "We were preserving a distance from one another," complained one member.

https://youtu.be/kN3NZCjqUtY , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1015841.html

գյամշ drivers...

... make holes in their car's exhaust pipes so a lounder sound (and more pollutants) will escape before reaching the filtering system.

Now the police are warning against this, "Don't disturb the peace and pollute the nature." The drivers, some of whom are unaware that the car they purchased was modified, are stopped, penalized, have their papers taken away, and instructed by police to take the car to a mechanic within 10 days.

Some aftermarket remote-controlled loudspeakers are being installed. This is slightly less bad because there is no need to bypass the safety filter. Still, this is "also unacceptable".

Examples: https://youtu.be/uUC3RoE3KUA

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1015850.html

ֆիքստուլ drivers & license plates

As in most of the world, Armenian drivers love to spend money to obtain "gold" license plates with repeated digits. $23 million went to state coffers in the past 7 years.

Plates must be 2 digits-2 letters-3 digits. QP MP Alen drafted a bill to allow certain words instead of the existing formatting, so the govt can "charge even more money" and "to bring it on par with world practice".

https://hetq.am/hy/article/117334

https://hetq.am/hy/article/85071

S

O

O

N

In ~2 weeks, the Molecular Institute will certify and produce COVID test kits. Recently the govt gave them funds to import raw materials and tech.

"Even if we purchase, import, and assemble components separately, each unit costs less than what the govt spends now... The internal experiments are over. Soon we'll test the kits on real COVID patient samples, before submitting it to an independent agency for verification... We have ~50 employees... We'll produce 1000-3000/day," said Institute director,

https://youtu.be/b2Ygwe67dBk

Dodi Exotic

BHK chief Dodi Gago has a private zoo with exotic animals like lions. Recently cubs were born. He decided to donate the adult lion Simba to Yerevan Zoo.

"Animals are defenseless when they're born. They need our help. I nurtured Simba personally from an early age, and will hand him over to the Zoo now," said Gago.

https://youtu.be/l3OBkQeQu_U

https://factor.am/251539.html

Yerevan Zoo is being disinfected

https://youtu.be/XvJOEV7SdxA

Ararat 73...

...is the legendary Armenian soccer team that won CCCP cup in 1973. The statue of the entire team was installed on Hrazdan stadium property in 2016.

Today people noticed that 4 players are missing. Stadium owner ex-MP Ashot Aghababyan believes it happened last night. This morning Hrazdan workers raised the alarm. There is a financial reward for finding them. "Just don't melt them for scrap."

Pics: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/188361

Programming classes

The High Tech Ministry will provide education to 2,000 people to learn programming. Those who worked in the hotel, tourism, or other COVID-hit industries will be prioritized during the enrollment. It'll be online.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1015868.html

HayPost & Online purchases

High Tech Ministry is negotiating with HayPost (USPS) to launch a new delivery platform specifically for online purchases.

The Ministry pointed out that HayPost was recently nationalized and is under Ministry's control, and has access to every settlement in Armenia, and can be better utilized to help online platforms.

It could work similarly to Amazon, which has a contract with some delivery agencies. The consumer buys the product, picks the delivery time, and pays accordingly.

Online trade tripled after COVID lockdown.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1015869.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gnijia/may202020_news_1_programming_classes_for_covid/


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