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Investigation of Iavnana Charity foundation activities

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, September 18
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has launched an investigation of the activities of the charity foundation Iavnana, established by a famous Georgian opera singer, Paata Burchuladze

Georgian newspaper Netgazeti reports that the Prosecutor’s Office got interested with the issue after a non-governmental organization (NGO) Georgian Young Financers and Businessmen Association ( AFBA) released a statement calling the investigative body to look into the foundation’s activities.

The statement of AFBA echoes the journalistic investigation conducted by the POSTV, which said the foundation misappropriated and embezzled money raised by charity.

“AFBA believes that after the journalistic investigation conducted by POSTV many questions were raised about the legitimacy of accumulation, accounting and expenditure of Iavnana funds. Now it is up to an objective investigation to determine whether there was a criminal offense, such as fraud, robbery and money laundering,” the NGO stated.

AFBA also called on the other charity funds and organizations to timely present detailed and transparent reports on their charitable activities.

Former director and founder of Iavnana, Burchuladze, said the aim of the campaign is to destroy charity and kindness.

“I knew that the campaign has beenprepared, but I could not think they would try to destroy the foundation. Everything what happens in Georgia today serves to damage kindness and charity,” the internationally known opera singer stressed.

Iavnana also responded to the criticism and accusations. The Facebook page of the foundation says that the campaign aims at discrediting not only Burchuladze, but the foundation and the people working there.

“Iavnana's work has always been transparent. At the end of each charity event the foundation presented a detailed report to the public… It is a pity that the dirty Soviet propaganda that has been repeatedly condemned throughout the history, is trying to establish itself in the 21st century,” the foundation stated.

The video portal POSTV released an investigative film about Burchuladze and the Foundation Iavnana on September 12. Four days later, the second part of the film was also released.

Paata Burchuladze left his successful career of the operatic bass in May last year and formed a political party State for People prior to the October 2016 parliamentary elections.

In August, he formed a coalition with three other opposition parties to establish the State for People Movement. His coalition failed to pass the five percent election threshold and was left without any seats in Parliament.

On December 15, Burchuladze declared he quit the politics. POSTV film says that Burchuladze used the money raised by the foundation to finance his political party.

As reported by the Georgian media, last week Burchuladze was appointed on the position of artistic director of the opera group at Mikhailovsky Theater, located in St Petersburg, Russia.