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Watchdogs Suspect Political Motives in Khazaradze Prosecution

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Georgian watchdogs suspect political motives in prosecution of the co-founders of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze.

Seventeen civil society organisations (CSOs), including Transparency International Georgia, Open Society Georgia Foundation, Georgian Democracy Initiative and UN Association of Georgia, issued a statement saying “series of suspicious decisions” have been taken by state agencies during the launch and conduct of the investigation.

The rights groups also emphasize that Khazaradze reported the cases of intimidation and blackmail by state officials, the Interior Ministry as well as the National Bank against him and TBC Bank. Watchdogs suspect political motives in Khazaradze prosecution, especially since he recently announced plans for a public movement.

“The aforementioned circumstances further strengthen the concerns of various organizations over the alarming increase of signs of informal rule and state capture, which implies the excessive concentration of power in the hands of the ruling party and influential informal groups, as well as the use of public institutions for private interests”, the undersigned Georgian watchdogs say.

In this process, taking the circumstances into account, CSOs call on:

  • The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to make public the hard evidence connected to the case against Khazaradze and Japaridze;
  • The Government of Georgia to consider the gravity of the situation and the potential consequences that will follow if suspicions of selective or political justice are further reinforced;
  • The international partners of Georgia to pay close attention to the recent developments around TBC Bank and the Anaklia Port project, in order to prevent any irreversible loss to the long-term democratic development of Georgia.
TBC Bank, the leading Georgian banking company, is facing criminal investigation over money-laundering allegations involving a USD 17 million transaction that took place in 2008. The bank denies the charges, saying the transaction was legal and was inspected multiple times by the authorities, the National Bank and international auditors. For more information, please visit our tag on TBC Bank.

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