TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian authorities have arrested the head of security at opposition financier Bidzina Ivanishvili’s ski resort.

It was officers of the Georgian finance ministry’s investigative unit which arrested Revaz Mumladze, who is head of security at the billionaire’s Bakuriani residence.

The investigator’s office said that the reason for Mumladze’s arrest was that he has used forged documents.

The Finance Ministry’s investigative office told DF Watch that he was trying to misappropriate a land area in Bakuriani which is property of the state. Bakuriani is one of the most popular winter resorts in Georgia.

A spokesperson for the investigative office says that an employee at the Public Registry in Borjomi, Levan Aptsiauri, has also been arrested in the case.

The spokesperson says Mumladze in addition is accused of one more crime; specifically avoiding paying certain fees by reporting to authorities a lower sales price than was actually agreed in the purchase agreement.

Mumladze’s lawyer Shalva Tadumadze told DF Watch that the court sentenced the defendant to pre-trial detention and scheduled a pre-trial hearing for April 5, 2012.

He explains that the case concerns property Mumladze bought in 2010. The lawyer says Mumladze didn’t know that the plot in question was registered with forged documents. Mumladze also denies avoiding to pay fees.

According to Georgian legislation, the first crime is punishable with five years, and the second with four years in jail. Georgia applies the principle of consecutive sentence.

Bidzina Ivanishvili is a Georgian billionaire who until October 2011 had remained apolitical, but suddenly declared that he would run in the 2012 parliamentary elections with the aim of getting into government.

He now heads Georgian Dream, which is now both the name of a planned political party as well as a coalition of parties. Members of Georgian Dream now say Mumladze’s arrest was political.

Lawyer Shalva Tadumadze says that in 2011, before Bidzina Ivanishvili had announced his decision to enter into politics, there was an investigation in progress regarding purchase of the same plot of land. The owner plead guilty, and Revaz Mumladze was recognized as the rightful buyer; and no legal sanctions were brought to bear against him.

Regarding the second crime, Tadumadze says the deal defines the price, which he paid to obtain the right to the property in question.

“Due to the facts and personality of Revaz Mumladze, it is clear that Revaz Mumladze is political prisoner, because his arrest is directly related with Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement, because the investigation was in progress in 2010-2011 regarding this case and then no questions existed towards Mumladze. But after Ivanishvili made the statement to enter into politics, the government started persecuting his supporters and Mumladze got caught in this machinery of repression without any reason,” he adds.