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The Leadership of Centre Point and DEXUS developement companies charged

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 12
The founders of the Centre Point Group Development Company were charged with embezzlement. A special statement concerning the issue was made by the prosecutor’s office on July 11th. According to the statement, Rusudan Kervalishvili, the United National Movement MP in the previous administration, her sister Maia Rcheulishvili who is a 33% share holder in DEXUS development company, and Ivane Tsaguria, who was handed over the management of the Centre Point Group a few years ago, are all accused of embezzling approximately 28 million dollars, which should have been spent on constructing blocks of apartments in Tbilisi.

The prosecutor’s office stated that there were a lot of appeals by victims concerning this issue and as a result the prosecutor’s office found that the situation needed to be investigated.

According to the investigation, the members of the so-called “Tabukashvili 88” attracted investment in the amount of USD 27,701,299,13 for the construction of blocks of flats for members of this group. Direct contributions from the members consisted of USD 23, 380,000.

“Due to the illegal appropriation of a large portion of the money, completion of the project became impossible. Kervalishvili and Rcheulishvili illegally appropriated more than 11 million GEL,” the prosecutor’s office stated. The charges that the defendants are facing, carry up to 11 year jail sentences.

Tsaguria has been detained, while the two owners of the Center Point Group were released after questioning. No one has yet admitted committing the crime. Part of the companies’ property was seized.

Maia Rcheulishvili stated that she did not agree with the charge, but stressed that it would be surprising if the prosecutor’s office did not give the problem it's attention.

“There were lots of appeals and it is natural that the prosecutor’s office has concerns over the issue,” Rcheulishvili said, adding that she would not have handed over GEL 94 million to DEXUS for its use if she were an embezzler.

“The sum was enough for the completion of the construction process,” Rcheulishvili said.

Kervalishvili was surprised that she was indicted in the pre-election period, shortly after the statements made by the justice minister and the PM about reducing the amount of detentions.

According to her, the August war in 2008 seriously damaged the company.

“However, the problem should not affect the clients, those who paid money should be given apartments,” Kervalishvili stated.

Maia Rcheulishvili's husband, Vakhtang Rcheulishvili, spoke on the Tbilisi mayor office’s negative role and accused it of using the developers’ money for UNM pre-election campaigning.

DEXUS spread statements concerning the detention of Tsaguria. According to the company, the detention of Tsaguria was absurd as DEXUS took over the Centre Point Group in 2010, when the prosecutor’s office is only dealing with charges which relate to the period 2004-2009.

The victims of the alleged embezzlement expressed satisfaction concerning the ongoing situation. According to one of the members of the “Tabukashvili 88”, Besik Beridze, the investigation of the development companies’ wrongdoings only commenced when there was a change of government.

“We were doing our best, we have been protesting for years, we had appealed to the authorities without any outcome. There were some tragic stories, where people put all their savings into the flats and are now in a terrible situation,” Beridze told The Messenger, adding that all the participants in the situation, Centre-Point, DEXUS, the Tbilisi mayor’s office must share the blame.

“However, our aim is not to see people in prison. We want our property. Their properties should be seized and our flats completed,” Beridze said.

Fellow victim, Mamuka Melkadze stressed that the women are guilty.

Centre Point Group went bankrupt after the 2008 war. The company was taken over by DEXUS which promised to fulfill the obligations of the Centre Point Group. More than 6,200 individuals are alleged to have been affected.