Komagi Fund recipients interrogated, funds seized
By Salome Modebadze
Friday, June 29Recipients of the financial support provided by the charity foundation Komagi were interrogated and given the status of witness “due to the interests of the investigation” on June 28. According to the information released by the General Prosecutor’s Office, initiators of the money transfer– Natalia Koziupa, Katrina Pavlova, Richard Jay Taylor and others have no connection with Georgia and they financially depend on Georgian businessman and former official, Vano Chkhartishvili. They said it proves that Vano Chkhartishvili, who is living abroad, has been “participating in the implementation of a new scheme of vote-buying through his offshore companies.”
The office said that in the process of the investigation, “a significant number of highly suspicious money” was transferred from abroad to the private bank accounts of Georgian citizens registered with the Komagi Fund during the last several days. Prosecutor’s Office connected the fund with Bidizna Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream political coalition.
“Due to the interest of the investigation” bank accounts of all the recipients will be seized until the end of the investigation. The Prosecutor’s Office said this process aims to avoid possible criminal activity, protect the pre-election process from possible criminal interference, ensure freedom of expression and protect the electoral rights of citizens and political parties.
Denying the above-mentioned accusations Ia Metreveli, Chair of Komagi, said the foundation has no connections with any political party but only aims at assisting people oppressed by the government. She said the people named by the Prosecutor’s Office are unknown to her. Admitting coordination with Georgian emigrants, she hesitated to name them. She explained that Komagi had provided them with the list of people in need of their support but she does not know which of them transferred the money.
Metreveli said some people who were interrogated had not even received any money yet, while the rest were seized of not only their own bank accounts but even the pensions and other savings of their family members. She said they were escorted by policemen in early morning hours to make “a psychological stress” on them.
Metreveli said Komagi will not change their path and continue supporting people. “We do not represent any political party, we are impartial,” she said, worrying that the government had been hindering Komagi to help people from the very first days of establishing the foundation.
Metreveli addressed Georgian society, and asked international human rights protectors and the diplomatic corps to pay attention to the “immoral” steps made by the government, because she said the Komagi Fund was the last support for people oppressed by the state officials.