BUSINESS
Georgian Premier Questions Relevance of Reimbursed GEL 80 Million
08 November, 2012

 

National Bureau of Enforcement of Georgia (NBE) returned GEL 80 million to Bidzina Ivanishvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, taken by the state as a penalty. NBE acknowledged the money was taken illegally and prompted reimbursement.  

Some experts believe this sudden move is an attempt of the NBE to discredit new Premier. But Ivanishvili passed the test. He questioned the legal side of the reimbursement and refused to dispose with the sum until the clarification of the issue in full compliance

with the law.

 

Georgian Premier appears wary over GEL 80 million that NBE expropriated in summer and returned back as a surprise this week. According to official announcement spread by press-service of the Premier’s office on November 6, Ivanishvili decided not to touch the questioned sum for the case contradicts the law.

NBE confirms that it has already transferred the said GEL 80 million to Ivanishvili’s account and justifies this sudden move by procedural infringements NBE found in the expropriation case of the questioned sum. Therefore NBE canceled all the procedures related with Ivanishvili’s money-seizure case executed in this past summer [when he was a political opponent to now ex-ruling power] and issued a new order on reimbursing the seized money to now Premier Ivanishvili.

In mid-June of 2012 Tbilisi City Court accused Ivanishvili in breakage of the law on party financing and imposed GEL 75 million as a penalty. The latter refused to pay initially inasmuch as he found the court procedures unfair. To compel Ivanishvili to pay the fine NBE seized Ivanishvili’s 21% at Progress Bank as well as 100% at Cartu Group imputed with Ivanishvili while the stockholder in Cartu was his son. However, after natural disaster made a heavy impact on Kakheti region, Ivanishvili paid GEL 80 million [including execution charges of GEL 75 million] not as a penalty but as a charity to assist the natural-disaster affected population.

Ivanishvili still believes people in Kakheti need assistance, however , he is in no hurry  to dispose with the returned GEL 80 million at his own discretion as of yet for he finds certain legal confusions in the surprising money-return case. The point is the court decision respective to the imposing GEL 80 million in penalty still remains in force. NBE [quite illegally] executed seizure of shares at Cartu Group based on this very decision.  Therefore Ivanishvili believes that both the seizure of GEL 80 million as well as its return contradicts the law and the case misses more in-depth investigation.

“Therefore, we find unreasonable to dispose with this sum until the truth is disclosed,” Ivanishvili stated adding that new government tried to assist the natural-disaster-affected population in Kakheti through allocations from the state-budget-based governmental funds [created on pur pose to fund unforeseen expenses like natural disaster] but the bigger part of the funds turned out spent unreasonably without paying compensations to the victims of natural disaster.  The Premier also stressed that the international charity fund Cartu, had already launched research of the impact the natural disaster made on Kakheti and is dedicated to provide fair and comprehensive compensations to victims.

Ditrikh Muller, a legal expert with Georgian Investmnet Group, finds the return of GEL 80 million illegal unless the court decision imposing the said penalty is not revoked. He believes this action is an attempt of NBE to discredit new Primer by returning him the money given out as a charity.

“NBE implemented series of illegal property seizure this year under the National Movement’s [ex-ruling power] order and major part of expropriations were related with Ivanishvili’s assets. I do not rule out that NBE is still manipulated by Nationals who tried to discredit Ivanishvili by returning the money that Ivanishvili paid as a charity. Otherwise, how can it be explained that NBE could so instantly find GEL 80 million and transfer it to Ivanishvili? This money should be transferred from the state budget as far as it was accumulated in the state coffer [as a penalty] managed by the finance ministry. In this case new government would have been aware of this transfer and it would not come as a surprise as it did really,” Muller said.

 

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