2021 January 3

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Daily news wrap-up

Jan/3/2021 news: __ Top-10 anti corruption charges of 2020 __ POW & search __ Russian aid __ Refugees return __ Protecting the church __ Artsakh's international recognition __ Oil & gas news __ Chess & soccer events __ Guinness World Record __ Importing more Iranian products __ Syunik borders __
by ar_david_hh


Your 7-minute Sunday report in 1743 words.

10 notable anti-corruption cases in 2020

10) SIS concluded the investigation of former president Serj Sargsyan's alleged embezzlement of ֏500 million in agricultural subsidies in 2013. Serj appeared in court as a defendant in February. The case continues.

9) ex-HHK MP and ex-Soccer Federation Chief Ruben Hayrapetyan (oligarch Nemets Rubo) was charged with large-scale embezzlement. In February, he was charged with embezzling $1.5 million-worth lands belonging to the Soccer Federation. (he was earlier implicated in the case about organizing the kidnapping, extortion, and torturing of a man who allegedly stole from his restaurant)

8) ex-Yerevan Mayor and Transport Minister HHK Gagik Beglaryan was charged with embezzling ֏230 million in state property. He was also interrogated as part of a ֏23 billion embezzlement in the North-South highway construction project. His brother is implicated in a ֏85 million embezzlement case.

7) ex-Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosyan (wanted) and ex Israel Ambassador Armen Smbatyan (paid a bail) are charged with using an offshore scheme to embezzle the state property.

6) Serj Sargsyan's brother Alexander was a defendant in the case of the 14 stolen paintings by Martiros Saryan. Pashinyan announced that Alexander's $30 million bank account was frozen. Alexander agreed to return the funds to state coffers. $26 million was recovered. $7.5 million was recovered as part of Martiros Saryan's painting case. Another $19 million was recovered -- or as he says, "donated" -- for the army modernization.

5) Powerful Churchman Archbishop Kchoyan (Bentley guy) was charged as part of an investigation of the forceful appropriation of another businessman's property by using an offshore firm, which was run by several individuals, including the churchman and allegedly the former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. More on that here.

4) Felony case was launched over the purchase of $42 million in weapons that turned out to be dysfunctional. Pashinyan mentioned this on several occasions, blaming the former regime for "wasting resources instead of developing the army." More recently, Pashinyan criticized General Movses "Mosi" Hakobyan, saying the waste took place under his administration.

3) Serj Sargsyan's chief bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan and his alleged accomplices had their felony tax-evasion charges dropped after compensating ֏3 billion ($6.3 million) to state coffers.

2) Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan (Povar Ishik) was charged by IRS in March after the "revelation of an unprecedented level of corruption in modern Armenian history". Minasyan is accused of illegal enrichment. The investigation continues. Minasyan is residing in Russia, which won't extradite him due to close connections.

Details on Mishik's case here, here, here, here (laptop recovered with 9000 files), here, here, here, here, maybe here, definitely here, here, here.

1) BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan was charged with organizing an election fraud during 2017 and financial crimes by his casino Shangri La. The investigation began in late 2019 after a construction firm, with ties to Tsarukyan, paid a bribe to a Yerevan official in an unrelated incident. Tsarukyan likely learned about the pending charges against him and launched a major opposition campaign against Pashinyan, to then frame his charges as "political persecution" for being critical to the government.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2021/01/03/2020-ի-10-քրեական-գործերը/414983

https://www.evnreport.com/politics/the-political-rise-and-fall-of-tycoon-gagik-tsarukyan

protecting the church from Satanists

Former HHK MPs Shawarmazanov, Vahram Baghdasaryan, Masis Mayor, and their supporters gathered in front of Ejmiatsin cathedral to show support for the church leader Garegin B. The church was later criticized for being politically-motivated; it has been accused of acting as the former regime's puppet for several years now.

The former MPs condemned the "attacks" and said, "no Satanists can divide our church because it has been our protector for thousands of years."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrnfWxGlguQ , https://youtu.be/Uli2kwKHtTs , https://youtu.be/FrnfWxGlguQ , https://youtu.be/Gy7PqICSYU4

Italian city Osio Sopra officially recognizes Artsakh Republic

grazie

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039469.html

Iranian & Chinese products to replace Turkish

Armenia will import 2250 types of products from Iran instead of Turkey, amid the 6-month ban on Turkish product imports. "This will be a good opportunity for Iranian producers. In the next step, [Armenia] will supply its required raw materials from Iran," said the chief of the Iranian trade agency.

The govt had earlier met Chinese representatives to discuss the replacement of other Turkish items with Chinese ones.

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/167965/Armenia-to-import-2-250-goods-from-Iran-instead-of-Turkey

border "demarcation" process continues in Syunik

The process to install Armenian and Azeri troops continues on the new borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Syunik province. The border was formerly Syunik (Armenia) - Qashatag (formerly Artsakh).

Syunik's Shurnukh and Vorotan were built on the immediate internationally-recognized border, and some of them were on the Azeri side. As a result, a dozen buildings will go under Azeri control. Shurnukh village mayor complained about losing several houses and Azeris being too close.

Syunik governor said border guards have been installed in areas surrounding Shurnukh. Russian and Armenian guards are placed in certain parts of this 21 km border.

https://factor.am/325886.html

POWs

European Court for Human Rights has approved a petition by Armenia to implement emergency measures to require Azerbaijan to share information about the conditions of 23 POWs.

"So far, such petitions were approved for 80 POWs, 18 of whom have already returned home," said Armenia's representative in Court.

Armenia's HR Ombudsman Tatoyan criticized Aliyev for calling Armenian POW soldiers "terrorists" and for keeping them arrested, which delays the swap process.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039433.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039480.html

New Years Eve memorial concert in Yerablur Pantheon:

https://youtu.be/eDiK0KZRkH4

casualties & search operations

1145 bodies have been found on battlefields since the ceasefire; 10 of them on Saturday. Several crews continue the search in Martuni, Martakert, and Jabrayil regions.

3330 bodies have been found since the beginning of the war. Some of them are yet to be identified. 436 were identified by DNA analysis, 871 are pending. The DNA process is slow so the govt decided to buy the second device.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039447.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039483.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039500.html

Azeri civilian wounded from a landmine explosion

... in the Fizuli region that went under Azeri control during the war. Azeri prosecutors launched an investigation. In turns out, some Azeri civilians visit these areas without allowing the sappers to clear the areas from landmines first. So far, 10 Azeris have died or received injuries from such explosions after the ceasefire.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039473.html

Russian sappers in Artsakh

... have cleared 400 hectares of lands, 151 km of roads, and 617 buildings from 16,000 explosives. Video of URAN vehicle helping sappers to clear land: https://youtu.be/uZOXWsE4Pvw

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039508.html

Russian peacekeepers to live in modular housing

They built the second rapid-deployment modular mini-town in Getavan, after finishing one in Stepanakert earlier. Another one will be built in Berdashen this month. The blocs will house 300 peacekeepers. They will have access to various convenience shops.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039452.html

Russian humanitarian aid in Artsakh

Russia sent 5,000 m2 glass for window replacement, 70 tons of metal parts, 34000 bedding items, to Martuni and Martakert cities. Earlier they sent 20 mobile electricity generators to help the areas that were cut off from the main electric grid.

Russian doctors have so far treated 1044 Artsakh residents with various complaints. There are medical teams that travel in rural areas to provide care, including mental health services. The doctors received New Year's gifts from the medical administrator Oleg Bagayev.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039453.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039463.html

more Artsakh refugees return their homes

220 did so on Friday. So far, 47000 residents crossed the Lachin road while returning to their homes.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039462.html

GazProm has extended the gas contract with Armenia

... with the same pricing until 1Q21. More negotiations will take place later.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039439.html

oil, gas, and... crypto mining??

Under the threat of US sanctions, a Norwegian agency will not certify the Russian Nordstream-2 pipeline, which intends to deliver 56 billion (?) cubic meters of gas from Russia to Germany annually. Trump administration has been pushing hard to sell American liquified gas to Europe.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/202101031081638832-norways-dnv-gl-intl-registrar-says-cannot-certify-nord-stream-2-due-to-us-sanctions/

Russia has another new gas pipeline called TurkStream. Its section located in Serbia began operating on Friday. It'll deliver Russian gas to Europe through Turkey. The US said it will impose sanctions in the event TurkStream expands with new pipes in the future.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/31029599.html , https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/additional-line-to-turkish-stream-would-face-us-sanctions/

Azeri gas pipeline TAP began delivering gas to several cities in Italy. Azeri gas travels through Georgia, Turkey, and Greece. It's co-sponsored by BP.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/31029406.html

Russian energy giant Gazpromneft built a cryptocurrency mining facility in one of its Siberian oil drilling sites. They will dig gas, burn it, turn into energy, then use it to mine the coins. Good luck competing with your NVIDIA RTX crap (that is if you have one, pleb).

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Russian-Energy-Giant-Mining-Bitcoin-With-Virtually-Free-Energy.html employee of the month

Italian soccer club Roma's midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been declared the best Roman player of December after a voting.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039476.html

chess news

Levon Aronyan (two-times world cup winner) competed in Airthings Masters finale against Teymur Rajabov (current world cup winner). They played two rounds. Rajabov won the tournament.

Aronyan preserves his FIDE ranking. He is the 6th in the world. The leader is Magnus Carlsen.

https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/champions-chess-tour-airthings-masters-2020-prelims/8/1/2 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039458.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039477.html , https://factor.am/325895.html

world's smallest chess playing just for you

Ara Ghazaryan from Los Angeles built the world's smallest chess and made it into the Guinness World Records book. It's 8x8 millimeter.

"Ara Ghazaryan is an Armenian American artist who uses jewelry to express his art and formerly held this record title. The chess board itself is made from 18 k yellow and white gold with Armenian apricot wood and rests on a frame made of platinum, 18 k yellow gold, rubies, and diamonds. The figures measure in height from 1 mm for the pawns to 2.4 mm for the kings."

Photo: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/78603-smallest-handmade-chess-set

https://factor.am/325695.html

COVID stats

+1088 tested. +229 infected. +14 deaths. +451 healed. 12398 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039503.html

COVID hotline

Healthcare Ministry has a new "Coronavirus Hotline" number you can call if you've been diagnozed with COVID and need assistance.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039450.html

HimnaDram.org entertains hundreds of children

The All Armenia Fund has transported 600 Artsakh children and their parents, residing in various provinces of Armenia, to watch performances in Yerevan's Tumanyan Puppet theater. Santa, Dzyunanush, and the Elves surprised the children with gifts in the end. The Foundation will help thousands of children by the end of January.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039451.html

daily եռուզեռ in Stepanakert's main market

It's bustling again after a temporary pause during the war:

https://youtu.be/gKMSE9Xf2bs?t=5

donations for Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Armeniapedia's archive of my daily news threads:

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" guilty.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/kpw8vs/jan32021_news_top10_anti_corruption_charges_of/


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