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UNM leader speaks about his assets

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, August 22
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation concerning one of the leaders of the United National Movement, Davit Bakradze, who appears not to have delivered correct information about his assets while being in office.

Bakradze served as the chairman of Georgia’s Parliament from June 7, 2008, to October 21, 2012, and during this time had to indicate at the asset declaration if he or his family members had cash worth more than 4,000 GEL.

According to the document that was released by the PIA agency, Bakradze had a bank account with London-based HSBC bank which contained ?261,757 (754,700 GEL). However, at the Asset Declaration, Bakradze declared he only had 15,000 GEL and $10,000 USD cash, refraining from disclosing information about the money in HSBC.

Responding to the allegations, Bakradze made a written statement claiming that the money came from the sale of his father-in-law’s house in Tbilisi’s Krtsanisi district in 2002.

He stresses that the property was purchased by the Swiss Embassy and that the money had nothing in common with the state budget.

Bakradze pushed forward the idea that his political opponents revealed the “confidential information for revenge.”

"The fact that correspondence between the bank and its client was made publicly available demonstrates the government’s continued practice of illegal surveillance,” Bakradze states.

Parliamentary minority members share the sentiment expressed by Bakradze. According to them, the government is carrying out a pursuit on political grounds.

“The fact clearly pointed at the illegal methods of the current government of Georgia,” MP Goka Gabashvili said.

Commenting on the issue, Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili admitted that the case had nothing to do with political persecution.

“The issue concerns a pure legal topic-whether an ex-official declared information about his property correctly or not…The Prosecutor’s Office will make the issue clear. It is fine that Bakradze has also made an explanation,” Petriashvili said.

Concerning the issue, Transparency International Georgia (TI) released a statement stating that if this information was true and Bakradze and his wife had bank accounts in any foreign bank in 2013, this was a violation of local law.

TI also addressed to the Prosecutor’s Office to study whether the private correspondence between the bank and Bakradze was obtained legally. Under local legislation, obtaining private information illegally is a violation of law.