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UNM opposition accuses Cartu Bank of money laundering

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, September 20
Cartu Bank plans to appeal to court

The United National Movement (UNM) parliamentary opposition party has accused Cartu Bank of money laundering and the misappropriation of people’s money.

The UNM members made the statement on Tuesday at the Cartu Bank headquarters. The bank is owned by Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s former Prime Minister and the founder of the incumbent Georgian Dream (GD) party.

The members of the United National Movement held a protest rally at the bank with the slogan “You work and they steal.”

During the rally, one of the UNM members tried to fix the protest poster on the bank window, which led to a minor confrontation between the UNM activists and the security guards of the bank.

The UNM’s Tbilisi Mayoral candidate, Zaal Udumashvili, stated that “Cartu Bank became rich by taking people’s money”.

“This is a bank that is full of nontransparent and illegal tenders. This is a bank that saw an unprecedented profit rate of 1700 percent. This all happened at the expense of the Georgian population,” he stressed.

Udumashvili added that the bank is laundering money and this money is being paid to GD officials and party members.

Nika Melia, a UNM City Council candidate, stated that Cartu Bank is robbing the Georgian population, adding that “this place is a state chancellery for the Georgian Dream party”.

UNM member Levan Khabeishvili presented extracts from the Civil Registry office, showing the activities of the bank.

He claimed that the bank launders money and its owner is allegedly involved in the illegal trade of firearms.

“However, these ties are not officially confirmed by the judicial authorities of any country, as it has not been proved that Cartu Bank is connected to money laundering,” said Khabeishvili, calling on the Cartu Bank to present the sources of its funding.

A member of Tbilisi City Council from the UNM, Marika Datukishvili, stressed that she was hit by an unknown person in the face at the protest rally.

Datukishvili calls on the police to timely identify the person and hold him responsible.

“I cannot say who this person is, however, there is video footage and he can be identified,” Datukishvili stressed.

Later in the evening Cartu Bank released a statement regarding the UNM accusations. The Bank says that accusations made regarding the bank’s reputation will not remain without a response.

“The bank will definitely appeal to the court against all the individuals and organizations who made the defamatory statements about the Bank's business reputation and who accused the bank of money laundering," the statement of Cartu Bank reads.