Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office returns seized land, cars to rightful owners

Several properties and cars illegally seized by the former government were returned to their rightful owners. Photo by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office., 10 May 2016 - 15:57, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has today returned several properties to their legal owners after being illegally seized by the former government several years ago.

The Office’s ruling stated the victims faced pressure and violence and had their land and cars unlawfully confiscated by the United National Movement (UNM) government. 

Today’s ruling saw seven residential properties and two cars returned to their owners.

One incident stemmed back to 2010 when a Lazare legal entity in western Rustavi legally purchased seven residential lands. Shortly after the purchase, local authorities and law enforcement bodies became interested in the property, said the Prosecutor’s Office in a statement today.

After months of psychological pressure and detention of family members, Lazare business owners gifted the properties to the state in December 2010. 

Another instance related to a former high-ranking law enforcement official of Tbilisi Vake-Saburtalo police department who detained Kakha Gurgenidze for illegal purchase and possession of drugs. The ex-official demanded Gurgenidze hand over his Hyundai car in exchange for a plea bargain. Gurgenidze was forced to accept the deal in 2011. 

A third case also concerned the illegal seizure of a motor vehicle. The Office alleged another former official illegally seized a Mercedez Benz sports car from its owner Jemal Natsvlishvili. 

The Prosecutor’s Office said all three former officials accused of crimes were cooperating with the investigation and they have not been charged.

The Office said the investigation was ongoing and the involvement of the three ex-officials could lead to authorities uncovering more cases of illegalities carried out by other ex- officials, committed during the UNM-led government.