In Quotes: Political Reactions to Khazaradze, Japaridze Ruling

The Tbilisi City Court sentenced founders of TBC Bank and opposition Lelo party Mamuka Khazaradze, Badri Japaridze and businessman Avtandil Tserteli – initially charged with money laundering – guilty of fraud and sentenced them to seven years of prison. But the Court released them from the sentence as the statute of limitations had passed. has compiled comments by Georgian politicians about the ruling:

MP Mikheil Sarjveladze, Georgian Dream: “There turned out to be differing views [between the Court and the prosecution] about what this crime was called – whether it was fraud, money laundering or something else; and the Court said this was a crime not of this but of that category, however still a crime in both cases. The facts were not up to debate, and every speculation that surrounded this dispute now remain groundless. There were no reasons for political persecution or political motivations.”

Nika Melia, United National Movement chair: “I welcome the fact that [these] people fought for three years. I am glad that there are more and more people in the opposition spectrum who do not give up and do not bow. [Georgian Dream founder] Bidzina Ivanishvili had aimed to remove certain politicians from the opposition by initiating various [criminal] cases. However, take Mamuka Khazaradze or Badri Japaridze and Avto [Avtandil] Tsereteli, they became more persevering instead. But the problem remains. It is a massive problem pertaining to politicized justice. As long as Bidzina Ivanishvili has politicized justice as a weapon, none of the Georgian citizens – not only politicians – can feel safe.”

MP Salome Samadashvili, Lelo parliamentary faction: “What we saw today is what an absurd we live in… Today even Ivanishvili’s court was unable to make official the political order it had received. All of us, the country and the state paid the price for [this prosecution], because this was not only a case of Badri Japaridze, Mamuka Khazaradze and Avto [Avtandil] Tsereteli. As a result of this case, a strategically important project [Anaklia Deep Sea Port] could not be constructed in the country… If we do not change this system, if rule of law does not take hold in this country, it has no chance of development.”

MP Giorgi Vashadze, Strategy Aghmashenebeli chair: “It was clear since the first day [of the investigation] that this was a politically fabricated case. It is clear that the Georgian Dream continues with political persecution against opponents as well as media managers… Following a three-year-long epopee the Georgian Dream could not dare to convict Khazaradze, Japaridze, Tsereteli in the money laundering case, because this charge was absurd from the beginning. The ruling, with which they were convicted on fraud charges was also absurd.”

Davit Bakradze, Independent MP: “Today it was made clear how absurd this whole case was. It was so absurd, even this court could not dare move to imprison these people… We witnessed absolute craziness in terms of jurisprudence… They could not arrest these people but the Government and the Prosecutor’s office did not want to back down, for the public to see the lie and the political order. They [court] came up with a stupid construction, absolute nonsense [in the context of] the law.”

Read for background on the controversial TBC Bank case:

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


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