TBILISI, DFWatch – 16 Georgians have been fined by Tbilisi City Court for donating money to an opposition party.

The court fined supporters of Georgian Dream five times the amount they had donated.

Among those fined are the director of Cartu Bank and 7 employees who yesterday reported that their accounts had been seized.

The remaining eight are members of the Georgian Dream coalition.

The Georgian government has prosecuted almost everyone who has donated money to Georgian Dream, claiming that all these donations were illegal.

Among the people who were fined today are some who donated only 100 lari (USD 61) to the coalition, while their monthly salary is several thousand lari.

The court has a right to fine a person who has donated to a political party, even if it cannot prove that the money had illegal origins. But after today’s trial, lawyers reported that almost none of their motions were granted by the court.

The director of Cartu Bank said he will refuse to pay the fine and plans to appeal this decision.

The State Audit Office, which is the body which has authority to decide what are illegal donations, yesterday held a press conference, saying that Georgian Dream and the National Movement are on the top of the list of parties which received largest illegal donations.

The Audit Office presented a document which contains information about financial transfers of political subjects from January 1 to July 25, 2012.

But the difference between donations of these two parties is very large, according to the document Georgian Dream received 18 393 634 lari illegally, while the National Movement received only 102 572.

According to State Audit Office, illegal donations were received from 58 individuals and four legal persons.