Int’l Prosecution Advisory Panel of Georgia justifies charges against TBC Bank founders

The co-founders of TBC Bank Badri Japaridze and Mamuka Khazaradze were charged for laundering $16,664,000  in late July. Photo: Mzia Saganelidze/RFERL, 17 Oct 2019 - 00:33, Tbilisi,Georgia

The International Prosecution Advisory Panel of Georgia has provided “outside assessment” of evidence in high-profile TBC Bank case. 

In a  letter sent to the Georgian Chief Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze the panel explained that the evidence presented to them by prosecution “demonstrates a scheme” by TBC Bank founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze “to conceal the unlawful distribution of bank funds” constituted money-laundering, “the generic predicate crime for which was fraud”.

The evidence documents numerous irregularities, including that within hours of receiving funds from TBC Bank, Samgori M ltd and Samgori Trade ltd siphoned the funds to Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, who were senior officers of JSC TBC Bank”, reads the letter

Taken in isolation, any one of the irregularities uncovered in the investigation might not establish criminal conduct in the processing of the loans in 2007 and 2008 as opposed to revealing  technical violation of civil banking law”, it further notes, adding that “facts do not exist in isolation”.

Based “solely on the case materials” provided to the panel, it views the evidence as “sufficient to demonstrate the necessary predicate crime of fraud, therefore, justifying the indictments filed against” Khazaradze and Japaridze, as well as businessman Avtandil Tsereteli “for legalisation of illicit revenues”.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office released the letter on October 16:

Khazaradze and Japaridze were charged in late July with laundering $16.7 million back in 2007-2008, an accusation they call “absurd". Avtandil Tsereteli, the owner of Samgori M ltd and Samgori Trade ltd, has also been charged as an accomplice.

Khazaradze, who opposes the ruling Georgian Dream party has founded the civic movement Lelo and has plans to create a political party in the coming months ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections. He is also involved in the construction of Anaklia Deep-Sea port.