Journalistic Investigations Expose Corrupt Activities Of Armenian Government - OCCRP's Sensational Report

(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 18. Journalisticinvestigations expose the corrupt activities of the Armeniangovernment in the sensational OCCRP (Organized Crime and CorruptionReporting Project) report, Trend reports.

Today, the West's approach, characterized by double standardsand personal interests towards Political and social eventshappening in different parts of the world, stands increasinglyapparent, contrasting with the values and principles it claims touphold.

The uneven approach towards the South Caucasus countries haslong run the risk of becoming a source of division; currently,however, Western politicians, including their political centers,ignore corruption scandals that occur in countries that exhibit apro-Western political trajectory or refuse to discuss them.

Armenia is currently one of the countries where this kind ofcorruption is continuously growing.

Journalistic investigations, recognized as the main center offact-checking in the liberal world, have uncovered the financialmachinations of the ruling party in 'democratic' Armenia.

No reactions or objections to the revealed facts have beennoted, despite the fact that the data was made public ahead of thehigh-level EU-US-Armenia joint summit that was scheduled to takeplace in Brussels in April to support Armenia's stability.

Aiming to diversify its traditional foreign policy and securityarchitecture, Armenia has strengthened its political, diplomatic,and security ties with the US and the EU in recent years.

Western states tend to ignore certain of Armenia's activities asa result of this tendency and are reluctant to discuss it.

The communiqué presented by the media regarding the trilateralmeeting held on April 5 of this year in Brussels between the PrimeMinister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, the President of the EuropeanCommission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the US Secretary of State,Antony Blinken, listed 'achievements' of Yerevan in the field ofcorruption alongside the discussed topics.

Journalistic Investigations Expose Corrupt Activities Of Armenian Government - OCCRP

"The European Union and the United States acknowledged thesubstantial progress Armenia has made since 2018 on democratic andjustice reforms and the fight against corruption and expressed acommitment to continue partnering with and supporting Armenia as itfurther strengthens its democracy and the rule of law, in line withour shared values and principles," said the communiqué.

"We welcome Armenia's endeavors towards promoting democracy,combating corruption, and fortifying the rule of law," stated EUHigh Representative and Vice President Josep Borrell on thesidelines of the trilateral meeting.

Armenia's pro-Western foreign policy trajectory thus makes itpossible for corruption scandals to remain unreported; yet, theillicit activities discovered as a consequence of theinvestigations below validate the dishonesty of statements made byother senior Brussels officials, including Borrell.

Financial machinations of the Armenian ruling partyCivil Contract.

In March of this year, OCCRP and its local partner in Armeniapublished an investigation related to the source of donationsreceived by Armenia's ruling party.

Meanwhile, funded by globalist and liberal circles, OCCRP holdsthe status of an international non-governmental organization in theworld and is 'used' as a tool of political influence against somecountries.

For the first time since the establishment of the 'democratic'regime in Armenia, information about corruption in the country isbeing published in global media.

More over a third of the budget for the ruling Civil Contractparty in Armenia in 2022 came from donations totaling 170 milliondrams, or almost $420,000. Serious concerns over the party'sfinance did, however, surface as a result of the examination of theofficial financial reports.

During discussions with investigative journalists and officiallyregistered individuals who made donations to the Civil Contractparty, it became apparent that a number of them were either unawareof this kind of financial exchange or had forgotten the event.

When asked for explanation during the investigation, half of the31 donors said they had never made a donation of this kind.

For instance, during interviews with media, Lilit Haroyan, amember of the Charentsavan Village Council in the Kotayk area ofArmenia who was listed as a donor to her party in the releasedlist, referred to the occurrence as a joke and stated that she wasonly now learning about it.

However, the official document indicated that she providedfinancial assistance of one million drams (about $2,500) to thebudget of the Civil Contract party, although she claimed to havehad no income that year.

Another representative contacted by journalists, SerobAvetisyan, a member of the city council mentioned in the financialreport of the Civil Contract party, reacted emotionally to thequestion and tried to evade it.

"If you are really journalists, then I have no time to talk toyou," Avetisyan said.

Subsequently, in the conversation with media representatives,Avetisyan declared that he had given the party no funds.

In the published financial reports, dubious financialtransactions conducted by the Civil Contract party are not limitedto only members of the party's municipal councils.

For example, official documents noted that Sisak Shahbazyan, whoworked as a driver in the administration of the Avan district ofYerevan, made four transfers to the party totaling 1.7 milliondrams ($4,200) from August to November 2022.

In response to inquiries from reporters, Shahbazyan said thatparty members requested that he transfer this sum of money; themoney did not belong to him.

"I moved the money that close friends provided me. We gave theparty money so they could cover their rent," he remarked.

Journalistic Investigations Expose Corrupt Activities Of Armenian Government - OCCRP

There have also been dubious financial dealings with MelinaSukiasyan, an Armenian city council member from Tashir, Sukiasyan made two donations in October and November2022 totaling three million drams, or roughly $7,500, according tothe financial report.

"I don't have that kind of money; I couldn't make such adonation. I no longer trust them (the Civil Contract party). If youhave such documents, send them to me. I won't allow my name to beslandered," she said in response to questions about thedonations.

The Armenian government claims that in recent years, it hastaken steps to combat corruption to prevent the influence on thesocio-political situation of the former oligarchic elite that ruledthe country. The ban on cash and transfers from legal entitieswithin the 'reforms', as well as the ruling party's conduct ofdubious financial transactions after limiting the financial supportfrom individuals, indicate different motives.

"In order to obtain the necessary funds, political parties aremost likely seeking ways to circumvent the law and use illegalschemes," said the Executive Director of the anti-corruption centerTransparency International in Armenia, Sonа Ayvazyan.

The illegal methods used to finance Armenia's ruling party,Civil Contract, and the involvement of ordinary citizens, whosenames are listed above, in such dirty political games have becomeentrenched.

Despite the fact that the Armenian government, in contrast tothe previous authoritarian one, identifies as democratic andasserts that it is a body chosen by the people, its corruptpractices have only taken on a different guise.

Coordinator for Democracy at the Helsinki Citizens'Assembly-Vanadzor (HCA-Vanadzor) Vardan Grigoryan said that thenature of the donations indicates an attempt to conceal the sourceof funds for the party.

He noted that the money could have been obtained in cash fromvarious sources and then transferred to the party on behalf oftheir candidates.

Journalistic Investigations Expose Corrupt Activities Of Armenian Government - OCCRP

Questions arise:

What funds is utilized by the Nikol Pashinyan-led rulingpolitical party for its philanthropic endeavors?

Where is the source of the money that has been illegally'imported' into the party budget under the identities of theordinary party members mentioned earlier?

Could this be a way to 'clean' the dirty money of the formerpolitical elite, who amassed wealth by stealing from the Armenianpeople over the years?

Additionally, in favor of Pashinyan'sgovernment

Nevertheless, the indisputable evidence points to the populismbehind the claims made by Armenia's so-called democratic governmentregarding its efforts to combat corruption.

Western officials and politicians disregard the opinionsexpressed on corruption in Armenia by non-governmental groups likeTransparency International and the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, aswell as by the OCCRP, which is supported by by global donors.

End of Part One.

To be continued, the next part will provide information aboutother corruption scandals involving the ruling party in Armenia andthe bank involved in this process...

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