Upcoming Changes in Banking Accounts Monitoring Violate Human Rights
27 October, 2011

The newly added prima paragraph 124 in criminal code enabling Prosecutors’ Office to start monitoring of any bank account bypassing the Financial Monitoring Service in case of money laundering suspicion, violates European Convention on Human Rights and puts the country on the track of a police regime.  

The paragraph in question obliges banks to report on the account suspected of money laundering or any other criminal action at Prosecutors’ Office immediately without referring to the mediator chain of Financial Monitor

Service of Georgia (FMS) first, as it is practiced in compliance with the active anti-money laundering law of Georgia at the moment.

FMS is a Legal Entity of Public Law created with the National Bank of Georgia in 2003 and its main objective is facilitating prevention of illicit income legalization and terrorism financing.

According to the currently active anti-money laundering law subject to monitoring shall be both cash and non-cash transactions if its amount exceeds GEL 30 thousand  and/or the transaction is suspicious regardless its amount.

And all financial institutions or instances dealing with money turnover and related legal procedures are responsible to report on suspicious cases at FMS that in its turn is responsible to inform the relative law enforcing structures including Prosecutors’ Office and internal affairs’ ministry. And only on the bases of court decision the Prosecutors’ office starts monitoring of the questioned account.

However, the newly added 124 prima paragraph links banks with the Prosecutors’ Office by direct responsibilities actually removing the FMS from the scene and unties hands to Prosecutors’ Office to act arbitrary without the FMS reference.

On the other hand the bill suggests quite indefinite monitoring term countering to the 8th paragraph of the European Convention of human rights setting standards of private life, Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) assures.

Latent surveillance over citizens is legalized in police states - Strasburg court stipulated in the case Klass and Other vs. Germany, and Convention of European Court of Human Rights can admit such practice only if it is necessary to safeguard democratic institutions. However, the court stresses that nature and timelines of such confidential surveillance should be clearly defined as far as the limits fixed for confidential investigation and monitoring is a guarantee to protect individuals from the abuse of discretion on side of the state.

Therefore limits should be fixed to mandates of both the prosecuting body and the judges approving orders on latent monitoring.

However, the suggested paragraph 124 lacks transparency from both points of view thus posing risks to leave citizens vulnerable to arbitrary action of law enforcers if the changes will be approved in the way they are suggested, Georgian legal experts worry.

According to the questioned paragraph, the monitoring period should not exceed the term that is fixed as necessary for obtaining evidences on the criminal case under investigation.

But the sooth of securing evidences for investigation differs from the account monitoring, Tatuli Todua, Parliamentary Secretary of GYLA, explains.

According to her, the confidential account monitoring is intrusion in private life as far as owner of suspicious account is not aware that his/her account is under focus of prosecuting bodies. While seeking for evidences the investigated case is transparent and the person being under prosecution is well aware of this process.

On the other hand the evidence searching period is not limited by the criminal law that means it can last for uncertain period taking months and years. According to criminal law of Georgia, investigation should not exceed reasonable timelines fixed on crime longevity period that varies from 2 to 25 years.

Therefore the dubious definition of bank account monitoring terms linking monitoring period with the investigation period enables Prosecutors’ Office to enjoy as long monitoring as they would like form 2 to 25 years based on single  permission of a judge [for the court order expire date is not elaborated either].

“Monitoring of bank accounts is intrusion in private life and it cannot last as long as investigation and unclear definition of monitoring period makes individuals vulnerable to arbitrary action of prosecuting bodies and latent investigation. This undermines the 8th paragraph of European Convention fixing reasonable limits to confidential prosecuting actions,” Todua elaborated. “Also, we think that a judge who gives an order for confidential monitoring should be restricted in timelines. All in all the entire monitoring period should not exceed 30 days.”

To put the disputed 124th paragraph in line with the international law GYLA suggests to amend the proposed changes as following: monitoring period must include 30 days; increase of the confidential monitoring can only be based on grounded suspect and Prosecutors’ Office in its repeated request at court should indicate reasons why the first monitoring failed to achieve results; confidential monitoring of accounts can be prolonged only twice, the more repeated period is inadmissible.

According to Zviad Kukava, one of the co-authors of the questioned amendments to the criminal code, the changes include no risky implications at all. He failed to provide with more detailed analysis of the changes however under excuse that his co-author MP was more competent for the in-depth analyze of the bill. The latter turned out unavailable for timely response however.

Soso Tsiskarishvili, a political-economic scientist, presumes the bill is a pre-election move of the ruling power to control banking accounts easier prior to parliamentary election 2012 launches.

The bill was already approved at the first parliamentary hearing without proper publicity inclusion during its discussion at committee sittings. GYLA experts hope to achieve concession by the second hearing.

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
19.02.2019
20.02.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6404
2.6498
EUR
1
EUR
2.9908
2.9977
GBP
1
GBP
3.4130
3.4246
RUB
100
RUB
3.9898
4.0023
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
2.6498
EUR
1
EUR
2.9977
GBP
1
GBP
3.4246
RUB
100
RUB
4.0023
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