(Saturday, June 15)
In an interview with “Zhamanak,” parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian reiterates his serious concerns over a waste of public funds alleged by the National Assembly’s Audit Chamber. Abrahamian also defends the legality of his own business interests and says he has never been involved in any corruption scandals. He insists that he became rich “thanks to hard work.” “I worked in the Artashat [wine] factory,” he says. “When the privatization process began I privatized it. I have never embezzled budgetary money. I have no such desire and despite such people.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Abrahamian’s criticism of the government resulting from the Audit Chamber allegations stripped the Armenian opposition of a “monopoly on speaking about corruption.” The paper says it is now time to not just denounce corrupt practices but prosecute people engaged in them. “Government representatives say it is necessary to get rid of people engaged in plunder, fraud and embezzlement. Corrupt officials must be held accountable.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the Armenian police have refused to investigate its earlier report alleging that Sergey Arzumanian, the chairman of an Armenian commercial bank, was beaten up in his office on June 10. The paper cites a police as statement as saying that a criminal case was not opened because Arzumanian did not lodge any formal complaints. “This is the essence and nature of the police headed by Vova Gasparian,” it says.
“Zhamanak” comments on reports that the presidents of the United States, Russia and France will issue yet another joint statement on Nagorno-Karabakh at the upcoming G8 summit in Northern Ireland. “The new statement will come at a very interesting time,” writes the paper. “On the one hand, the results of the Iranian presidential elections will be known and some new processes may get underway … On the other hand, the United States and other countries have accused Syrian government troops of using chemical weapons, and they are clearly putting pressure on Russia ahead of an international conference on Syria. Parallel to this, quite serious events are unfolding in Turkey.”