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Two former high ranking officials of Georgia face new charges

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 18
Georgia’s former Interior Minister Ivane ‘Vano’ Merabishvili and the former Chief Prosecutor Zurab Adeishvili are facing new charges, as the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has stated that the individuals have been involved in systemic crime and illegally seized properties from their rightful owners.

According to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office Department of Investigation of Offences Committed in Legal Proceedings under the previous Government, the ex-officials’ recent charges were related to 2004, a year after the United National Movement (UNM) took office.

In particular, the charges relate to illegal activities that took place in Georgia’s western seaside Adjara region - in which several state bodies, banks and legal structures were involved - Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office said.

Revealing the details, the Prosecutor’s Office stated that in 2004 Merabishvili and Adeishvili held a meeting in Batumi, Adjara with the representatives of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) and the Adjara Central Bank, with then-Security Minister of Adjara Akaki Tsintsadze and Adjara’s Chief Prosecutor Givi Papuashvili also attending the meeting.

The major topic of the meeting was the Adjara Sea Bank liquidation process. The liquidation of the bank was a main regional goal of President Saakashvili’s UNM government, as UNM officials believed that the shareholders of the Bank were affiliated with the former Adjara ruler Aslan Abashidze who was forced out of the country in early 2004 by the state leadership.

“In order for the Bank liquidation process to be carried out quickly, the creditors should have returned their loans promptly. Then the returned money should be transferred to special accounts offered by Adeishvili and Merabishvili so the former shareholders could not have any access to it,” Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office said.

Following the process, the former state officials and relevant bodies drafted a list of creditors and forced them to return the money despite the fact that the people had years ahead to fulfill their bank obligations.

In the event that had no money, they were forced to give the property they had to the state.

Among such people were Teimuraz Megrelishvili and Nodar Modebadze, who had taken a 2,000,000 GEL loan from the Sea Bank to establish a winery.

They were forced by Adeishvili and Merabishvili’s people to return the loan in 2 months.

“As they failed to do so - and as they were threatened by state officials - they gifted the winery to the state. Law-enforcement officers woke up a notary late at night on September 7, 2004 to confirm the deal,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Body has already sent the relevant documentation to the Ministry of Economics for the people to be reimbursed for their lost property.

Speaking about the issue, Modebadze confirmed that he was illegally deprived of his property. However in his interview for Rusatvi 2, Modebadze stated he did not meet either Adeishvili or Merabishvili.

“I was summoned by the Prosecutor at that time (I cannot not correctly recall his surname), who told me that I must give money. I said that I did not have money, so he told me that I must cede my property to the state,” Modebadze said.

Adeishvili and Merabishvili are now facing 3-5 years of imprisonment if they are found guilty.

Merabishvili is currently detained for other charges, while Adeishvili is wanted by Georgia’s law-enforcement bodies for alleged crimes committed during his time in office.