TBILISI, DFWatch–The public watchdog overseeing the financial activity of political parties in Georgia claims that the government coalition has received an illegal donation of GEL 40,000 (USD 22,500).
The Financial Monitoring Service of the Georgian Audit Office claims that two companies – Geospirtprom and Dugladzes’ Wine Company Ltd – in the end of May transferred GEL 20,000 each to the Georgian Dream coalition.
Interpressnews quotes the head of the Financial Monitoring Service Zurab Aznaurashvili saying that the founders of both of the companies are citizens of Russia, which violates Georgia’s law on political union of the citizens, which says that political parties can receive donations from legal persons, partners and beneficiaries of which are citizens of Georgia.
Also Georgia’s Public Registry confirms that the owners of both companies are foreign citizens.
The Audit Office wants Georgian Dream to return the GEL 40,000 to the companies that donated the money and has notified the coalition that it will have to return the donation by June 27.
If the coalition hasn’t returned the money by then, it will be transferred to the state.
The State Audit Office was granted power to fine political subjects, companies or individuals for financial violations in late 2011, when the Saakashvili government was trying to use the watchdog to interrupt the activity of its political competitor before the parliamentary election in October 2012.
The Georgian Dream coalition the same day issued a statement saying that it had transferred the donated money back to the two companies after being notified by the Audit Office.
“Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’s account is open and any citizen or legal person can donate,” the statement reads, adding that the money was returned after they learned that the law had been violated.
The statement further says that Georgian Dream is not obliged to check who sends donations – that’s what the Audit Office is for.