National Bank rejects NGO claims about “shielding” US-sanctioned individuals

  • In its response, the NBG said the allegations were aimed at “discrediting” both the country’s Central Bank and the “entire banking system”, and “misleading the public”. The Bank noted there had been “no specific cases” of violation of the sanctions in the financial system of the country, and called the basis for the claims “unclear”. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Agenda.ge, 30 Oct 2023 - 22:18, Tbilisi,Georgia

The National Bank of Georgia on Monday rejected as “absolutely groundless” claims by non-governmental organisations that alleged the Georgian Government and the Bank were “shielding” four Georgian judges and a former Prosecutor General who have been sanctioned by the United States Department of State.

The comments followed a statement released on Monday by Transparency International Georgia, which claimed the sanctions - imposed on the judges for their alleged involvement in “significant corruption”, and on the former official for his alleged links with the Russian intelligence - had not been “followed by effective steps” from Georgian authorities.

It also added the authorities were “actively defending” the interests of sanctioned individuals while “disregarding the legislation and trying to downplay the negative consequences caused by the sanctions by conducting anti-Western propaganda”.

In its response, the NBG said the allegations were aimed at “discrediting” both the country’s Central Bank and the “entire banking system”, and “misleading the public”. The Bank noted there had been “no specific cases” of violation of the sanctions in the financial system of the country, and called the basis for the claims “unclear”.

The financial system of Georgia meticulously fulfils the requirements set by international partners. Despite a number of challenges, the sanctions enforcement process is as transparent and efficient as possible. Any changes made in the regulations are not tailored to the interests of specific individuals, but serve to ensure full compliance of the sanctions’ enforcement process with local legislation and international requirements”, the NBG said.

It also said the Bank was in “constant communication” with international partners and added the NBG had “never been, nor would be, a place of avoiding sanctions”.

The State Department on April 5 imposed visa restrictions on three senior acting judges - Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze and Irakli Shengelia - and former judge Valerian Tsertsvadze for their alleged “involvement in significant corruption”.

The release for the ruling said the judges had “abused their positions as court chairmen and members of Georgia’s High Council of Justice, undermining the rule of law and the public’s faith in Georgia’s judicial system”.

It also sanctioned Otar Partskhaladze - the former Prosecutor General of Georgia under the Georgian Dream Government who held the position between November-December 2013 - last month for “influencing Georgian society and politics for the benefit of Russia”.

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