Prosecution appeals verdict against former opposition MP Nika Melia

  • Melia is now on bail “for incitement to violence” during the June 2019  protests in Tbilisi.Photo: Nika Melia’s Facebook page., 13 Feb 2020 - 17:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Prosecutor’s Office says that they will appeal the verdict of Tbilisi City Court against former opposition MP Nika Melia in the high-profile Cartu Bank case

In December 2019 Tbilisi City Court found Melia guilty of abuse of authority in the case, banned him from taking public office for two years and three months and fined with 25,000 GEL [8,389 USD]. 

The court found Melia innocent of charges of supporting the concealment of property by a state servant to avoid financial obligations. 

The prosecution will appeal this last verdict in which Melia was found innocent. 

If the Court of Appeals finds Melia guilty, he may be sentenced up to 10 years in prison. 

The opposition says that the ruling Georgian Dream party has plans to arrest Melia. 

Ruling party MPs respond that the court is independent and politicians ‘have nothing to do with”l’ such issues.

Cartu Bank was founded by Bidzina Ivanishvili. Photo: Tabula. 

What is the Cartu Bank case?

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office says that after Bidzina Ivanishvili (the founder of the ruling Georgia Dream party) announced his political plans back in October 2011, the United National Movement government “came up with a plan composed of several stages to harm him.”

The first stage of the plan concerned the adoption of legal amendments which allowed the sale of the properties of legal entities by the state, via an auction, in the case of detection of tax violations, even though the property was mortgaged by a bank,” the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office says.

The Prosecutor’s Office reports that former state officials made illegal deals with legal entities having loans from Cartu Bank for them “to admit their tax violations.”

Following this the properties of the legal entities which were mortgaged by the bank were auctioned for sale by the state.

To prevent the repurchase of the properties by Cartu Bank at a reasonable price, the auctions were deliberately rejected by former head of the State Enforcement Bureau Nika Melia,” the Prosecutor’s Office says.

“After the rejection of the auctions the state used to sell the properties, at a symbolic price, to legal entities which previously owned the properties and were in an illegal deal with the government against the bank, the Prosecutor’s Office added.

The Prosecutor’s Office says that at that time legal entities had 59,997,000 USD and 3,757,000 GEL [1.2 mln USD] in loans taken from Bank Cartu.