Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party had 700 state debit cards in ’12 campaign

by | Jul 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Justice Minister Zurab Adeisvhili personally ordered the Chairman of Tbilisi Development Foundation to order debit cards, which made it possible to withdraw millions from the state coffers. The scheme was meant to be used to finance the National Movement’s election campaign in 2012.

Davit Alavidze, former Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, says this in a written confession on the grounds of which the court released him on bail. He was detained in this case together with several other persons, who also were released on bail Monday.

Tbilisi council and city hall employees were detained about a month ago, accused of financial actions to the benefit of the National Movement. According to the investigation, employees received credit cards which allowed them to withdraw money. The investigative service of the finance ministry then published video footage which shows the detainees withdrawing money from ATMs, which was recorded by surveillance cameras installed at the ATMs.

In his confession, Alavidze describes in detail how state money was used for the election campaign of the National Movement. He writes that in the fall of 2011, Giorgi Sabanadze, Chairman of Tbilisi Development Foundation, told him that Justice Minister Zurab Adeisvhili instructed them to prepare some kind of scheme so that the UNM would be able to compete with billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Both Giorgi Sabanadze and Zurab Adeishvili are abroad. They left the country after the UNM was defeated in the parliamentary election and their location remains unknown.

Alavidze writes that at a meeting with Adeishvili it was decided that debit cards would be prepared from Tbilisi Development Foundation for UNM activists. Adeishvili asked that only a few people should know this story about debit cards to keep the alternative financing scheme secret. This scheme was later used to withdraw money from ATMs.

His confession, Avaliani’s confession, the former chairman of Tbilisi Development Foundation and a confession signed by Aleksi Tabuashvili, the former chairman of the purchasing service of Tbilisi City Hall, were Monday published by the investigative service of the Finance Ministry.

Tabuashvili describes that he distributed more than 700 debit cards to chairs of UNM’s 10 regional organizations in Tbilisi. All three officials admit guilt.

The court released them on bail instead of placing them in pre-trial detention, which was a decision made after their confessions were published and out of regard for how well they cooperated with the investigation.



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