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Plea agreements with businessmen are over

Thursday, November 14
During the United National Movement (UNM) administration, it was a common practice to expropriate the property of businessmen, many of whom were opposed to the government. The Prosecutorís Office and the judiciary in particular, often blackmailed business people by arresting them or their family members and then demanding huge amounts of money and private property. They would also sometimes force business people to sell their businesses for way under the market value.

This form of extortion brought in a considerable amount of revenue to government coffers. In 2009 over eight million lari was brought into the state budget using plea agreements. By 2010 this revenue had increased to 42 million lari and by 2011 it had increased to 51 million lari. During those four years more than 52,000 businessmen became the victims of plea agreements. Since the Georgian Dream government came into office last year, the number of plea agreements has shrunk and seemingly disappeared. So far in 2013 there has not been a single plea agreement between the government and business people. Currently, many business people are demanding their cases be reopened and their property restored. (The Messenger)