TBILISI, DFWatch – A company connected to the largest opposition bloc in Georgia has had its property sold at a public auction. Meanwhile, the National Enforcement Bureau is replacing the company’s management.
Burji Ltd, which has links to billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, was fined for offering free or cheap services to a political party, which is prohibited after a recent law amendment. These amendments of the election legislation were made at the end of 2011, just after Ivanishvili decided to go into politics. Now companies are prohibited from financing any political party or activity.
Burji Ltd was accused of letting cars in its ownership be used by Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition cheaper than the market price. It was also fined for renovating the coalition’s offices. In total, the fines came to 10 million lari. Burji argued that the fines were illegal, and refused to pay.
Despite an appeal to the supreme court, the enforcement process continued uninterrupted. The company’s property was seized and sold at an auction.
The property was sold August 2 for 8 761 513 lari, which is about USD 5 310 007. It is not known, even to Cartu Group, who purchased the property. Burji was a subsidiary of Cartu Group. The starting price of Burji’s property was 5 153 831 lari for 203 vehicles and 7 real asset objects.
The National Enforcement Bureau today entered the offices of Burji Ltd to appraise the rest of the property belonging to the company. The new owner will have to pay by August 13.