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"Are latest political contributions fair play?"

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, August 24
New owner of the Bidzina Ivanishvili affiliated company Elita Burji Ltd, lawyer Giorgi Kavlashvili, has contributed 50, 000 GEL to the ruling National United Movement (UNM). According to Netgazeti’s journalist Tazo Kupreishvili, Kavlashvili is the best man of Levan Bezhashvili -the former head of the State Audit Agency (SAA) named as UNM’s majoritarian candidate in Kakheti.

Kavlashvili said the Georgian and foreign founders of Gama Ltd. do not want to reveal their names yet. “They have decided to contact me, a person experienced in legal affairs, and that is all,” Kavlashvili said, denying having any cooperation with the government.

The Georgian media reports that the Gama Company was created on July 27. Gama, chaired by Kavlashvili, bought Etita Burji’s property for 8.7 million GEL on August 6, while on August 1, Kavlashvili made a contribution to the ruling party.

Economist from opposition Nodar Khaduri found it natural that the government would have sold Elita Burji to some close person or group. “Unfortunately we do not know who they really are as the deal took place through an offshore registered company,” Khaduri said.

Lawyer Kavlashvili told Maestro TV over the phone that he is not a party member but has his own “views about supporting.”

Burji’s Director, Noe Kinkladze, still keeps his post at the company. However, parts of the company’s assets have been sold and the company is still under seizure.

Guria News has also published an article about the ruling party contributors. Davit Tatuashvili, 42th member of the 652-person list, was said to have contributed GEL 4, 000 to the UNM, but the newspaper reports that Tatuashvili’s personal details coincide with the person working at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA).

The author of the article provided a full picture of Tatuashvili’s financial conditions, including his property and expenses. Journalist Tamar Lepsveridze concluded that Tatuashvili and his friends, united under Patati Ltd and Jisi Ltd, have in total, contributed around 150, 000 GEL to the ruling party.

On the question whether the MIA representative can contribute to any political party or not, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) representative Lela Taliuri said in general that policemen should not belong to any party or engage in political activities, but still supposed that the SAA would start investigating the case as it used to do, based on information spread by the media.

However, Levan Natroshvili from Transparency International Georgia did not find anything special in the case, stating that if Tatuashvili’s family and friends have shares, it is not surprising that they are wealthy. TI Georgia’s Executive Director Eka Gigauri told The Messenger that people supporting any political party should really have their own property, otherwise it cannot be suspicious to make contribution up to 60, 000 GEL on somebody’s behalf.