Witch-hunting petty business
21 October, 2010

Georgian government disclosed a contraband scheme of cargo turnover at customs and detained the members of a rogue enterprise Cargo-Trans LLC together with tens of petty affiliated traders. However, experts say government just used one felony case to extort money from petty traders in fact.
On October 5, 2010, the Investigation Service of the Ministry of Finances of Georgia (MOF), disclosed a scheme of smuggle trade and faking customs papers practiced by Trans LLC importing goods from Turkey to Georgia.

Gela Chikviladze, General manger of the Trans LLC along with his accessories including two Trans LLC employee guys and number of alleged accessories including petty importers were arrested.


According to preliminary investigation, the suspects have been importing cloths and shoes from Turkey to Georgia though the Trans LLC largely known among entrepreneurs and market traders as Trans-Cargo LLC that has allegedly customs cargo transportation offices in Tbilisi and Istanbul. Actually the questioned enterprise has been practicing issuance of fake procurement papers, invoices, certificates of goods origins, and transportation-related papers in agreement of importers for USD 50 per paper. The aggregate price per car of transported goods [including all mentioned faked procedures] accounted for GEL 20-30 thousand and the enterprise implemented 5-6 transportation per months generally.  The suspects also eluded significant customs and taxation duties affecting the state budget. The overall budgetary loss is not calculated and the investigation is still on.
Nonetheless, according to Georgian media, about 70 petty traders were arrested at the malls dubbed Kidobani [Ark] and Passage on October 5, 2010 as the fake case accomplices and sentenced by two-month preliminary detainment. However the victim traders claimed that the figure reached 170 in fact for the MOF law-enforcers arrested many people at homes where the media could not trail MOF guys to cover the whitch-hunt. The Investigation Service did not elaborate with Georgian Journal how many importers were arrested all in all. On the other hand business associations and non-governmental organizations claimed the arrested importers were unwitting accomplices and their arrest was illegal.
“We got acquainted with the questioned [contraband] case and based on the information available to us we conclude that there is no legal ground for mass-arrest of the questioned petty traders of Kidobani and Passage,” Merab Janiahsvili, Head of the Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen (AYFB), told Georgian Journal. “Each violation and breakage of tax and criminal code must be investigated and punished, but only based on firm proofs and evidences, while the given case provides with no details as of yet to justify this kind of arrest of entrepreneurs like terrorists and ruffians. No democratic country globe over arrests petty entrepreneurs while investigating this kind of felonies and sentences them two-month of preliminary detainment.”


Janiashvili assures that the arrested traders were unaware of the illegal transactions the Trans LLC practiced and have been endorsing papers without reading them actually. Many of them pled not guilty and appeared ready to cooperate with the investigation. They are unwitting accomplices in fact and can face just about GEL 2-3 thousand of penalty, while the government cracked down on them to conclude procedural deals and pay GEL 5-10 thousands instead.


The victim entrepreneurs however eluded any kind of comments with media and did not appeal to any official right defending structure including the Ombudsman and business associations to find the truth. According to incognito source, the investigation body threatened the arrested entrepreneurs to make them to fork out even more than the already distorted money or keep them behind bars.
Thus entrepreneurs preferred to pay the demanded sums to escape prison and be tightlipped rather than trumpet the problem in quest of the truth and plunge in the dipper swamp. Only ten traders are supposed to remain under custody at the moment as incognito sources say. Investigation Service does not disclose details of this presumption claiming that it is beyond its competence.
According to Levan Kalandadze, Head of Association of Georgian Small and Medium Business, the problem is that the documentation respective to the questioned arrest was not made public and nobody knows concrete motives of the arrest.
“The investigation is still on, therefore entrepreneurs could not be fined as far as penalties are imposed only after investigation is through and the crime proved. Yet entrepreneurs preferred to pay twice more and escape the prison for they do not believe they can find the truth,” Kalandadaze elaborated with Georgian Journal.


“All this makes us  think that authorities needed this campaign to deter entrepreneurs and distort money. And I am amazed that no independent right defending body took an interest to protect traders. Ombudsman was obliged to be interested in this case even if nobody appealed with the request, because the information spread by media can lay ground to address alleged problem,” Janiashvili said.
AYFB analysts believe government hardly manages to fulfill the state budget. The amount of grants in the state budget of 2011 diminishes by GEL 229 million and other incomes by GEL 45 million compared to 2010. Nevertheless the state assignments of 2011 state budget increase thanks to taxes.
“The tax-based incomes figure increases by GEL 768 million next year against the backdrop of the economic crisis. We cannot expect a high-paced economic development next year so where these sums are supposed to be raised from?” Janiashvili asks and presumes that government decided to crackdown on petty business that does not enjoy any lobby at government unlike big businesses. 

Print
Other Stories
Georgian citizens are granted the right to work in France
The French Embassy in Georgia made remarks on granting Georgian citizens the right to work in France
The New York Times: Bitcoin declines but Georgia still bet on it
The New York Times has recently published an article about reasons, challenges and causes of generating Bitcoin in the former Soviet country Georgia.
EU to allocate € 13 billion for Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia
The European Union together with the World Bank plans to allocate investment worth € 13 billion for infrastructure projects in the Eastern Partnership countries.
Anaklia Port and its importance for Georgia
In 2016, Anaklia Development Consortium was authorized to launch the construction of Anaklia Port.
Cryptocurrency mining threatens electrical network in Abkhazia
In the breakaway region of Akbhazia rampant cryptocurrency mining is threatening the shaky electrical network, reports an article of the news portal EuroNet.
Caucasus Wine University to be opened in Gurjaani
In the Kakheti region a new viticulture campus of the Caucasus University is in the process of planning.
Photos describing life of the poorest in Georgia
Fight with poverty should be among top priorities of every government in every country.
Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia
Even drizzling rain and unpleasant gusts of wind can’t prevent the farmers from coming and participating in the agricultural training.
Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope
Organic hazelnut production is a delicate plant in Georgia that has emerged just a couple of years ago. Various pests, among them the Asian stink bug Parosana, trouble hazelnut farmers and menace their livelihood – even before their businesses could really take off.
Hybrid car imports are going through the roof in Georgia
Thanks to their fuel economy, the popularity of hybrid cars is increasing in Georgia, where fuel affordability is low and prices for fuel are unstable.
The New Year offer from MAQRO Construction - Apartments with unbelievable discounts and the parking spaces for FREE!
Location, green yard, spaces for various needs, experience of the construction company and parking space are the main important criteria for potential buyers of apartments.
Interview with the co-founder of Kiwi Vegan Café – the first vegan place in Tbilisi
Behind the Kiwi Vegan Café stands a group of activists who wants to raise Georgian’s awareness for animal rights and welfare.
Biblusi opens first shop for tourists - Georgian
The largest book shop in Georgia Biblusi opens the first shop specially designated to the needs and interests of tourists and named it Georgian.
Georgia improves by five ranks in the Prosperity Index
In the overall Prosperity Index rankings, Georgia has climbed by 5 positions from 85 to 80 when compared to last year. As such, Georgia is the best performing country in the CIS zone.
The future is bright for electric cars in Georgia
The numerous hybrid cars in the streets of Tbilisi cannot be overlooked. Entrepreneur Sulkhan Gvalia calls them “pagers”, referring to the predecessor of mobile phones.
Georgia’s fight against the big tiny enemy – Asian Parosana
It’s a tiny creature, but the harm it did to the Georgian agriculture sector was and still is immense.
New cable route: from Kobi to Gudauri in 15 minutes
On the 15th of December, cable transport is scheduled to be opened connecting Kobi and Gudauri.
Tourist boom in Gudauri – majority of hotels are booked by foreigners
Gudauri is among the most popular winter resorts in Georgia.
Medical tourism increases in Georgia
In the last 9 months, Georgia was visited by 19 500 foreigners for medical and recovery purposes.
Doing business in Georgia has become easier than in America
According to the Doing Business 2019 report published by the World Bank, Georgia ranked 6th among 190 countries in terms of simplicity of doing business. This was an improvement over two ranks compared to last year.
Problems that foreigners frequently face in Georgia
The importance of Georgia as a tourism hub is growing year after year.
Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower – Better than the Eiffel Tower?
It is planned to renovate the Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower, one of the landmarks in the capital.
Georgian Fusion Menu by The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi
5,895,914 international visitors have visited Georgia between January and August of 2018. Compared to the previous year the number has increased by 12.2 per cent.
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia. Those who violate the new rule would be fined GEL 10 000.
Lebanese café-lounge Beirut opens in Tbilisi
What is necessary to organize an unforgettable event? – Fun, emotions, lots of surprises, good music and delicious menu.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
15.02.2019
16.02.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6420
2.6413
EUR
1
EUR
2.9778
2.9791
GBP
1
GBP
3.3915
3.3851
RUB
100
RUB
3.9577
3.9608
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6413
EUR
1
EUR
2.9791
GBP
1
GBP
3.3851
RUB
100
RUB
3.9608
February 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28