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Ivanishvili fined 148 million GEL for illegal donations

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 12
In one day, Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili has been fined 126 million GEL and 22 million GEL in separate decisions made by the Tbilisi Civil Court.

The Financial Monitoring Service of the Chamber of Control accused the billionaire of administrative offenses, resulting in the fines, which Ivanishvili is required to pay within seven days.

The Chamber took issue with a connection between companies Burji, Elita Burji and the Global Consulting Group, and his political party. They allege that the companies distributed tens of thousands of satellite television antennas to voters free-of-charge, as well as provided discount automobile transportation services.

The monitoring service claims to have evidence proving illegal use of satellite equipment "for the electoral and political goals of the Georgian Dream coalition,” an offense according to the Organic Law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens.

In addition, Ivanishvili is accused of using Burji and Elita Burji to provide transportation services under “preferential” terms for Georgian Dream. The Chamber alleges that the price of services rendered - 2,242,994 GEL - is actually an illegal donation to coalition. Ivanishvili is accused of making this service payment/donation multiple times.

Georgian Dream’s lawyers called the decision “totally illegal” and are intend to appeal, but they do not believe a Georgian court is capable of an impartial verdict. As lawyer Shalva Tadumadze said, the court had political motivations as there is no actual evidence of wrongdoing. “We will appeal the decision in all instances even to the European Court,” Tadumadze said.

The lawyers noted that the vehicles mentioned in the Chamber’s statement do not belong to Ivanishvili, the means used by the Chamber to calculate the cost of services was "obscure".

Coalition deputy and lawyer Archil Kbilashvili claims that the current administration is gathering “money for departure”. He said there was nothing surprising about the decision and that coalition “calmly takes such outcomes.”

“Even if Ivanishvili really delivered satellite antennas free of charge to Georgian citizens, the court should have demanded an answer from those companies. What has happened is an absurd and simple political demarche,” he asserted.

Kbilashvili outlined that both the Georgian public and the international community will be informed about illegal decisions made by the government.

In response, Tbilisi Civil Court has confirmed the legality of the accusations made by the Chamber of Control.