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TBC founders: Prosecutor’s Office to meet diplomatic corps

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, September 3
The founders of Georgia’s largest bank TBC, Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze released a statement regarding the investigation against them, saying the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) invited representatives of the diplomatic corps to a closed meeting scheduled for September 6 to present a report prepared by two foreign experts hired by the Prosecutor's Office.

“The Prosecutor General's Office is trying to shift the responsibility relating to this politicized case, which has no legal basis, to the diplomatic corps,” the statement reads.

It also says that according to the Georgian constitution and any rule of law, the only legitimate space where the Prosecutor’s Office can present evidence and prove guiltiness of a person is the court.

The two men request the case be handled transparently, in compliance with all the standards guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia and international human rights law.

“If the authorities wish to involve international experts in this case, we consider that these experts should not be lawyers hired by the Prosecutor's Office, irrespective of their qualifications, but lawyers with independent international authority who will be provided with full and comprehensive information on the case and will be able to independently form an opinion,” the statement reads.

In late August Khazaradze also published a statement, saying his and Badri Japaridze’s bank accounts have been seized, adding in total, $16 million has been frozen on the accounts of both founders.

The man linked the action to political plans and Anaklia Deep Sea Project, construction of which is led by TBC Group.

Earlier in August month Khazaradze and Japaridze were sentenced to GEL 700,000 bail each by Tbilisi City Court, which they have already paid.

Moreover, the two men quit TBC Bank Supervisory Board and also the positions of chairman and deputy chairman of the Anaklia Board of Governors.

TBC founders were also forbidden to leave Georgia without informing and getting permission from the investigative agency.

The POG stated on July 24 that they decided to charge Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze for the legalization of $16,754,000, as a result of which, they received a large amount of income. The investigation into the case was launched on 2 August 2018. Therefore, they are accused of money laundering.

Khazaradze says the case is political motivated as he announced the creation of a political movement earlier in July.

He said the new movement will attempt to “unite Georgia and preserve the country’s freedom and independence.”