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Press Review


Why have criminal elements become more active since the elections, "Aravot" asks. Elections are making the real state of affairs transparent. After working with the state bodies, criminals are asking for their reward. It could be a seat in parliament or some lucrative business deal or the permit to avoid taxes. But because parliamentary seats and lucrative businesses are very limited in our poor country, criminals are starting to shoot each other. Although the authorities would like to see these people in jail, they have no ability to put them there. They would like to put some famous nicknames in the jail, but trying to do so could cause a civil war, "Aravot" concludes.

According to an Ayb Fe report, the chief of the Armenian police Haik Harutiunian might lose his job and some of his deputies are already eying his chair. There is speculation that the post of the police chief is priced at $2 million and that Harutiunan's associates are trying to collect that money. There is also speculation that President Robert Kocharian's favored candidate for that post is the chief of the Siunik region, Edik Barseghian.

Racketeering in Armenia is of two kinds, "Hayots Askharh" writes. Famous leaders of the criminal world, who engage in extortion in the territories they control, favor the first kind. If someone from the business world refuses to pay them, violent action follows. But this type of racketeering affects only midsize and small businesses. The leaders of the criminal world would not risk targeting big businesses. Only racketeers, who have the administrative means to exert pressure on the big businesses, can ask big businessmen for payoffs. Often racketeers with administrative power become shareholders in large companies. According to "Hayots Askharh," officials from the prosecutor's office have penetrated the more regularized sectors of the economy. Police officials usually get into the service sector, such as saunas, shops, restaurants.

"Golos Armenii" reports that the tax authorities in Armenia recently published a list of businesses, which owe large amounts of tax money to the state. The unpaid taxes of the top 10 businesses on the list are equal to almost 20 percent of the state budget. There are clear grounds for concern in that some of the businesses that do not pay taxes are those, which were expected to be the largest contributors to the budget. For example, the Armenian airport, which is controlled by Argentinean tycoon Eduardo Eurnekian, does not pay taxes.
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