Gov’t denies opposition’s accusations of political motive behind money laundering case against TBC Bank founders

  •  Ruling party members and ministers say that Khazaradze announced the creation of a civic movement after the investigation into the money laundering case had already been launched. Economy Minister Natia Turnava on the photo. Photo: Ministry of Economy press office., 24 Jul 2019 - 15:54, Tbilisi,Georgia

Top figures of the Georgian Dream ruling party say that there are no political grounds in the accusations against TBC founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, who will be charged with laundering of $16.7 million later today.

Minister of Economy Natia Turnava, Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze and Deputy Parliament Speaker Tamar Chugoshvili have said that Khazaradze announced his plans to create a civic movement earlier this month, while the investigation into the possible case of money laundering was launched earlier in August 2018. 

Of course, the opposition will try to see political grounds in the issue, as they do in several other cases. However, the most important thing will be evidence provided by the prosecution as it is a high-profile case,” Chugoshvili said.

Turnava said that the Georgian Dream leadership has never used neither the Prosecutor’s Office nor the court for its political goals.

Mamuka Khazaradze will make a statememnt later today, a lawyer said. 

Members of European Georgia and the United National Movement say that Khazaradze “is being prosecuted” for his intent to create a civic movement and his role in the Anaklia Deep Sea Port.

Roman Gotsiridze from the United National Movement opposition party says that the head of the ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, is using all levers to preserve power.

He says that the Anaklia Deep Sea Port project is disliked by Russia and Ivanishvili.

Turnava responded that the Anaklia Port is among the top priorities of the Georgian government and the project "is noway at risk" due to the case. 

Khazaradze and Japaridze have been summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office to be charged at 5 p.m. today. Lawyers say that they will make statements there.

The only public statement Khazaradze has made this morning was a Facebook post about the Anaklia Port, above which he wrote “We will build it anyway.” 

Head of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Sulkhan Saladze says that the prosecution will have to assure the public that the decision to proceed with the case is fair. 

Head of the National Bank of Georgia Koba Gvenetadze says that the relationship with TBC Bank continues in an ordinary manner, saying that the investigation is a separate issue.