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Prosecutor’s Office Freezes Assets of Khazaradze, Japaridze

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The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has demanded to freeze the bank accounts of the founder and former Board Chair of the TBC Bank, Mamuka Khazaradze and his Deputy Badri Japaridze. Mamuka Khazaradze wrote on his Facebook page late yesterday that based on “the Prosecutor’s Office’s demand and the court order,” all of their bank accounts have been frozen.

“The sole aim of this action is to finally suspend the public movement we have announced, as well as the ongoing charity and business projects, including the Anaklia [deep sea port],” Khazarade said, adding “You cannot frighten us!! We keep on fighting!!”

The Prosecutor’s Office told Civil.ge today that the USD 16.7 million-worth assets that have been frozen, are the equivalent to the amount that the two had “obtained through crime.” It also noted that freezing of assets is a temporary measure that is used before the court ruling is met. 

Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze are facing criminal investigation over money-laundering allegations involving a USD 17 million transaction that took place in 2008.

Tbilisi City Court ruled that Khazaradze and Japaridze have to post a GEL 700,000 bail each after being charged in a money laundering lawsuit. They also won’t be able to leave the country without the prosecutor’s permission.

The ongoing investigation into TBC Bank was made public in January 2019 following the media reports that the Prosecutor’s Office seized case-related documentation from the bank.

Khazaradze immediately denied the charges, claiming the legality of the said transaction was inspected multiple times by the local and international fiscal authorities and no “red flags” were raised. He then said the bank was suffering an “orchestrated” political attack.

Developments around TBC Bank have brought into question the fate of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port project, a USD 2.5 billion investment on the Black Sea coast in Zugdidi Municipality not far from Abkhazia, where Mamuka Khazaradze’s TBC Holding is the leading partner.

The Anaklia Development Consortium, a joint venture of TBC Holding and U.S.-based Conti International, was awarded the contract to build and operate the deep sea port in 2016; construction works commenced in December 2017 and are currently underway.

Khazaradze linked the TBC case to the construction of Anaklia port, suggesting that the purpose of the investigation could be to squeeze him and Japaridze out of the project.

In July, Khazaradze announced his plans to set up a new public movement in September aimed at “uniting the country and maintaining its independence and liberty.”

For more information, visit our tag on TBC Bank.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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