2020 May 29

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Anti-Corruption Daily

May/29/2020 News: (1) HHK MP is charged with embezzlement (2) MP's son charged with land theft (3) ECHR's Kocharyan verdict (4) COVID intensifies; Enforcement gets stricter (5) Kocharyan's vacation (6) Artsakh's new president aims unity (7) Gandhi (8) Renovations (9) Doing Business (10) Prprty Taxes
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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


HHK MP Nemets Rubo accused of embezzlement

HHK MP Nemets Rubo was earlier charged with [https://youtu.be/yod98YiwLo4 kidnapping and torturing his restaurant's director. 4 others are wanted.

Now he's facing other charges. The report says:

Nemets was the Armenian Soccer Federation's chief in 2002-2018. With the help of his aide and Yerevan officials, he stole 26,000m2 land belonging to the Federation and gave it to his friends.

In 2015, Yerevan's ex-mayor and other officials broke the law and organized a phony auction to sell Federation's lands. The 800mln-worth lands were sold for 168mln to Nemets' friends, who then gifted some of the lands to Nemets' family.

In 2017, Nemets illegally sold a Porche Cayenne Turbo car belonging to his factory to a friend for 2mln. Two months later he instructed a Federation employee to buy that car for a much higher 25mln price.

A felony case is launched. Nemets is hiding in Russia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189070

HHK MP Galust Sahakyan's son...

... Arsen Sahakyan is suspected of embezzling a land near a school. In 2011-2018 he was the chief of the Govt Property Management agency.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189068

ECHR's Kocharyan verdict

Context: Constitutional Court (CC) wants to decide whether Kocharyan can be charged with breaking "new" Law 300.1 or "old" Law 300. The CC didn't want to "take all the burden" and decided to ask Venice Commission and ECHR for advice. Today ECHR gave the verdict.

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Kocharyan lawyer's: ECHR told Armenian court to handle it. Armenian courts have set precedence in favor of Kocharyan as part of other trials. ECHR said the scope of an offense must be clear; Law 300.1 does not meet this requirement.

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OP's interpretation: ECHR ruled that the method Kocharyan was charged with is not against European law.

ECHR ruled that it cannot give a simple yes or no advice on whether Kocharyan can be charged with Law 300.1 specifically. The Armenian system must examine his case in-depth. Armenian system will decide which one of these laws (old 300 or new 300.1) Kocharyan should be charged with, and the way the Armenian system decides this is by looking for the "best outcome" for the defendant.

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User MkidA's interpretation: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gsq53n/the_echr_delivers_its_advisory_opinion_on/fs7kg7j/?context=3

--

QP MP Vladimir Vardanyan's interpretation: ECHR says 300.1 itself is a "legal" law. Armenian judge must decide when the "300" law was modified and turned into "300.1" law, did that decriminalize things? The answer is no because the idea of the new law remained the same.

https://youtu.be/NmXhESub94g

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/189046

https://fip.am/3383?doing_wp_cron=1590760083.1156959533691406250000

https://factor.am/254573.html

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30642187.html

Robik lawyer https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2020/05/29/ECHR-advisory-opinion/2300481

Prosecutors: https://factor.am/254709.html

Kocharyan to stay in the hospital until pandemic ends

A judge agreed to let him stay in Izmiryan hospital for now. Lawyers argued he's old and risky.

IND MP Babajanyan: the judge who gave this shameful verdict is HHK MP Gagik Beglaryan's son-in-law. Judges continue to be influenced by oligarchs and the former regime. If courts treated every elder inmate as good as they did Kocharyan, I wouldn't mind and wouldn't call it a selective treatment. This is why we need judicial vetting.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189044

https://factor.am/254605.html

Artsakh's new president...

...Arayik Harutyunyan continued his "unity" agenda by appointing his chief election rival Masis Mayilyan as Foreign Minister. Mayilyan has served in the position since 2017.

Earlier Arayik appointed another election rival Samvel Babayan at Security Council.

He also appointed the ex-president Bako's spokesman Davit Babayan as his adviser.

"We're creating an atmosphere of peace in Artsakh... Aliyev's recent threats are in vain. You cannot threaten us," said the President.

He also fired two district managers for "not handling recent wildfire incidents properly".

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189024

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189025

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189028

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189031

Ghandi and Armenia

Recently Yerevan approved the installation of Gandhi's statue. Not everyone likes it. They accuse Gandhi of having an anti-Armenian past. Some of these accusations are misleading, however.

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When the Sevres Treaty was signed in 1920 to dismantle Ottoman Empire, many Muslim Indians got upset because Muslim regions of the Middle East would be given to Britain.

Indian Muslims launched the Khilafat movement. Indian Hindus were sympathetic to this movement because it was a fight against Britain, which at the time occupied India.

Gandhi viewed the hatred towards Britain as a way to unite Hindus and Muslims. That's why he also opposed the Sevres Treaty. Later he explicitly mentioned he didn't have a problem with Armenian independence.

Full: https://fip.am/11641

COVID update

+460 infected. +10 healed. +7 deaths. 5214 active. 3297 healed.

Some 3000 patients with mild symptoms are kept in their homes and monitored remotely, with occasional visits if necessary. They don't require treatment.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189027

https://factor.am/254659.html

per-capita infections

Compared to the recorded cases in Iran, Armenia has surpassed Iran per-capita. "We're headed to Italian scenario," said Pashinyan, who earlier said that Armenia is going through a new wave of infections.

"There is confusion in the public because earlier WHO advised masks only for infected people or doctors. Now people are wondering why we're requiring masks for healthy persons. Medical info constantly changes as new evidence emerges. At the moment, it is known that masks are helpful if worn by healthy persons."

https://youtu.be/jbnJmw_ypmY

COVID enforcement

2,000 people received citations for violating mask and other requirements in the past few days. Earlier the govt reduced the penalty size so cops can give many more tickets on sight.

17k businesses were audited and 1.1k were shut down for 24-hours for violations.

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Police vehicles traveled around Yerevan backyards and used loudspeakers to remind residents about masks and social distancing. https://youtu.be/E9x5b1bR32U

https://youtu.be/MNcGN1WxXYM

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189029

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189032

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189051

funeral incident

Pashinyan: a woman died from COVID. Her two daughters ignored safety warnings during her funeral, contracted COVID, and also died. Three losses in one family. You got to wear masks and keep a distance.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189061

when would Armenia return to quarantine?

Pashinyan: we had to re-open Armenia because of security and economic reasons. Many countries do this despite WHO's recommendation of keeping the lockdown "until it's controllable". We won't have to return to strict quarantine if the public respects safety. Wash your hands, wear a mask, keep a distance. Do it for your grandma.

https://youtu.be/51jxIS2bypo

the psychological part of COVID

Psychological support is what patients need, according to epidemiologist Naira Ziroyan:

When my co-villagers learned that I went to the Golden Palace hotel (to treat patients), they thought I was infected. "How is Nara, is she fine?" co-villagers would ask after seeing my family.

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Many times patients panic. They want someone to be constantly nearby and talk to them. They tell life stories. One time I sat and listened for 2 hours. The man came from France to visit a relative's funeral but he wasn't allowed to attend; he felt abandoned.

Being old doesn't mean you're going to die from COVID. Patients with chronic illnesses can recover.

--

A 67yo man with chronic illnesses was waiting for his 2nd test results to see if he defeated COVID. Since the system was overloaded, it took >3 days for results to arrive. Meanwhile, he got depressed and declared a hunger strike until the results were done. I lied to him, "the results will arrive this evening. Go on and eat." Luckily the results came hours later. He was healthy.

I visited home only once between March 17 - May 24. My son said, "mom I wish you were a hairstylist instead of a doctor."

https://hetq.am/hy/article/117679

St. Gregory Illuminator hospital...

.... is running at 80% overall capacity and 95% in ICU. With 500 beds, it's one of several hospitals that was converted as a COVID-center in early April.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1016805.html

doctors' compensation

Pashinyan: we have a shortage of doctors, especially resuscitators and anesthesiologists. Healthcare Ministry is recruiting volunteers. Doctors who're immediately involved with treating COVID, and some ambulance workers, received a 2-3x wage increase through bonuses. Ministry is helping doctors with food and shelter.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189062

CDC chief has a message:

Suspend your parties and funeral participation. The virus spreads easily. An entire village was infected by one individual after a funeral. An infected kindergarten worker went to a birthday party and infected 6 out of 7 participants.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1016803.html

karen տոտա

5:35 tota gets mad at cops and camera crew for enforcing mask rule.

7:34 papi comes out of nowhere and gives candy to cops and camera crew.

https://youtu.be/v6WXRMhL7tA?t=349

hunting

Journalists record how cops find and ticket drivers.

https://youtu.be/2irZUqYZXuU?t=18

Zoo won't open on June 1st

It's usually free for kids on June 1st to celebrate international children's day.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1016783.html

what do you do when there are no tourists around?

You renovate tourist sights.

Khor Virap monastery's parking lot, the walking path, and the surrounding areas are getting a refresh. There will be toilets with disability access, green areas, and trade booths.

The Ministry of Economy has a renovation program in several cities.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189039

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189043

speaking of tourism

Russian TurStats tourist agency lists the top-5 recreational destinations in CIS republics.

1) Lake Naroch, Belarus.

2) Burabay, Kazakhstan

3) Naftalan, Azerbaijan

4) Jermuk, Armenia

5) Lake Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.

http://arka.am/en/news/tourism/armenia_s_jermuk_among_top_5_cis_health_resorts_/

soyboy

EU provided 7 tons of seeds as agricultural aid to Shirak province. For the first time, Shirak will plant soy in a 2ha area.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189076

Small businesses in Armenia / Digital challenges

"Doing Business 2020" captures regulatory reforms made by 190 countries that impact the ease of doing business. Armenia ranks 47th and is considered business-friendly, especially for starting one.

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97.9% of businesses are small/medium. They have 19% of all workers and 25% of GDP.

Some 60k small/medium enterprises exist, with >half not having any workers.

There are 23k micro-businesses with 1-9 workers.

3k have 10-49 workers.

--

Electronic payments are still under-developed. There is a local digital system called Idram but it isn't used elsewhere. PayPal doesn't find it economically viable to enter Armenia. Some argue that if there was less bureaucracy, there would be more registered international sales, which could convince PayPal to come.

"HayPost postal office doesn't provide an easy way for small companies to export products."

Full article: http://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/05/29/Despite-Challenges-Growth-Continues-for-Small-Businesses-in-Armenia/386054

https://www.doingbusiness.org/content/dam/doingBusiness/country/a/armenia/ARM.pdf

ex Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan...

...is in Russia. He held a video call with the Parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the handling of April 2016 battles. During the Q&A, Nalbandyan told something about militaryman Yuri Khachaturov. The Committee wants Khachaturov himself to appear and testify.

"Yuri Khachaturov has 2 more days to appear and testify," said chief investigator Andranik Kocharyan. (Khachaturov earlier refused to come)

--

The investigative committee, formed in 2018-2019, has one week left to conclude its fact-gathering mission. Earlier they questioned Serj. Participation is voluntary.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/117676

https://hetq.am/hy/article/117686

LHK chief Edmon Marukyan...

... has been chosen by PACE as a rapporteur to audit whether Romania complies with its membership duties. "First Armenian co-rapporteur since 2007," bragged Edmon.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189050

update: property taxes

For context about upcoming property tax reforms read here.

QP Tunyan gives numbers about the current state of property taxation in Armenia:

There are 432k apartments in Armenia. They pay $2mln in property taxes.

275k are worth <$6,200 and pay $0.

107k of these 275k cheap apartments are in Yerevan. They are only cheap on outdated papers, however.

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135k apartments pay only $4/year.

Only 6k apartments are listed as being worth >$42,000 in entire Armenia, and only 900 listed as >$84,000.

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An $80,000 apartment in Yerevan Center pays only $18/year. That's 8 times less than a 15-year-old Mercedes.

A 74m2 apartment in Shengavit pays $2/year.

--

Apartment values in govt's database are multiple times smaller than the market value.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/189035

What is Yerevan reading?

We know what books the adults and kids were reading in April. What about documentaries?

1) The monk who sold his Ferrari. A self-help book by Robin Sharma.

2) Becoming, by Michel Obama.

3) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson.

4) Everything is F*cked, by Mark Manson.

5) Girl wash your face, by Rachel Hollis.

(interesting 3rd nad 4th choice under pandemic)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1016690.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gsztww/may292020_news_1_hhk_mp_is_charged_with/


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