TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Chamber of Control keeps using its newly granted authority and fines a Georgian billionaire turned politician’s bank 822 040 lari (about 498 000 US dollars) for avoiding the law during financial transactions.

In a statement, the Chamber says that Cartu Bank transferred 82 204 laris worth of premium money to employees with the goal of transferring this money to Georgian Dream, a political movement started by Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Two employees of the bank confirm that they received the premium but refused to transfer it to the Georgian Dream account.

A toughened up law on party financing was enforced in late December 2011 to avoid corruption and make the financing more transparent.

The changes caused an immediate reaction from the civil sector and the opposition, who say the law granted too much authority to the Chamber of Control and has too much room for interpretation, which might prevent political parties from receiving donations and financing altogether.

But the other problem is that the law applies to all legal and individual persons who are directly or indirectly related to parties. In addition, even voters may be punished under the law; if they accept aid or money from politicians during election years, this will be considered bribery, and the voter will get three years in jail.

The Chamber already managed to warn and fine organizations surrounding Ivanishvili under its new authority, also some NGOs and political parties, including the ruling party.

The General Director of Cartu Bank quoted by Interpressnews says the bank will pay the fine but will appeal the decision in court and if needed may even take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“They fine us for the money, which Mrs Mogeladze suspected that in future could have been transferred somewhere, but it’s already a month, these people received this money and no one transferred anything anywhere yet,” Nodar Javakhishvili said.

During all of Monday, there were reports about interrogation of opposition party members and supporters of Georgian Dream in western Georgia, Republican party leader Tina Khidasheli said yesterday. A large number of Facebook users also posted similar complaints.

People are being questioned under the article about financial fraud, which Khidasheli says is a violation of human rights.

Non-governmental and media organizations started campaign called This Affects You Too in order to demand amending the law. They suggest alternative legislative changes to soften the strict prohibitions and definitions of the law.