Property illegally seized by former high officials returned to owners

The building of the Chief Prosecutor's Office of Georgia in Tbilisi. Photo by Nino Alavidze/, 16 Jan 2017 - 16:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia announced today the planned return of property valued at more than one million GEL to rightful owners after their illegal seizure under the previous government of Georgia.

The Department to Investigate Offences Committed in the Course of Legal Proceedings of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said it has opened three new cases of illegal seizure of property.

Plots of land in Black Sea area

One of the above-mentioned victims is Guram Chikovani. The Prosecutor’s Office said that in 2005 Chikovani bought a 200m2 plot of land in the Black Sea resort of Kvariati and in 2007 – 1403m2 plot of land in another Black Sea resort, Gonio. He then registered these lands in the name of his relatives, Pridon Kikava and Liana Intskirveli.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that in August of 2010, Chikovani was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office and was asked to gift these lands to the state or he would "face problems from the police”. Following this, Kikava and Intskirveli ‘gifted’ the property to the State.

Luxury car

Another victim is Akaki Moistsrapishvili, who was wanted by police for the illegal possession of drugs back in 2010.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office said that in July 2010, police asked Moistsrapishvili’s father, Jangul Moistsrapishvili, to buy a $22,150 USD car, a Hyundai Tucson, and ‘gift’ it to the Interior Ministry, in return for which Moistsrapishvili would be released from prison on a plea deal.

The father complied with the police’s request following which a plea deal was signed with the accused.

Flat in Batumi summer resort

The third victim whose case was solved is Anri Gogitidze, who was found guilty of smuggling and was sentenced to 18 years in prison in October of 2010.

After filing an appeal, Gogitidze’s family was contacted by the Finance Ministry’s Investigation Service and was told the man would be released on a plea bargain if his family were to pay 500,000 GEL and gift a flat to the Investigative Service in Georgia’s Black Sea resort town of Batumi.

Gogitidze was released after his family complied with the demands in May 2011.

The Prosecutor’s Office addressed the Ministry of Economy with the request to return all the mentioned property, currently owned by the state to its former legal owners. The Office said the total value of these estates exceeded one million lari.

Prosecutors said the Office would further deliberate on the punishment of those responsible for the above-mentioned offences.

These crimes were investigated by the Department to Investigate Offences Committed in the Course of Legal Proceedings of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, which was created in March of 2015 for the purpose of investigating crimes committed before 2012.

The Department has already opened 50 cases involving 34 former officials. Ninety-one individuals were recognised as victims and have had (or are having) their properties returned.

The total cost of these properties approaches 20 million GEL.