TBILISI, DFWatch – Police in Tbilisi Tuesday afternoon arrested six employees of CartuBank in an armed operation against the bank which belongs to the businessman who ten days ago said he would challenge president Saakashvili’s almost total power grip over the country.
Government friendly TV Rustavi 2 reports that several are detained for money laundering, and that they are connected to Bidzina Ivanishvili.
His lawyer Eka Beselia says the police operation was an “aggressive and criminal attack” against her client. According to Beselia, police confiscated a cash transport vehicle belonging to the bank which at the time was carrying a large amount of money belonging to CartuBank.
“It’s a violent act of government representatives. This act was carried out by trampling on the constitution and international regulations,” Beselia’s statement reads.
The lawyer demands the release of four cashiers and two money collectors and the return of CartuBank’s property.
“This is an unprecedented act of political persecution; we appeal to public institutions, diplomatic representatives, and international organizations for an immediate response!” the statements says.
CartuBank was founded by Bidzina Ivanishvili in 1996.
Also on Tusday, it emerged that a friend of the businessman’s rapper son Bera Ivanishvili had been arrested the day before. While his father has been releasing political statements, Bera has released a music video on the internet called “Georgian Dream” dedicated to his father and his political aims. The clip shows youth wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Georgian Dream” printed on them, and handing them out at various landmark locations around Tbilisi, and ends with an appeal that what will follow is in the hands of the people.
“Levan Mdinaradze (DJ Rembo) was arrested for Georgian Dream,” the businessman’s son writes in on his Facebook page today. “He was handing out Georgian Dream T-shirts. We can’t stop, all our generation should follows us,” Ivanishvili’s son writes.
Later Mdinaradze’s sister wrote on her Facebook page that the police had been in the family home conducted a search but left appearently without finding anything.
Officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs told news agencies that Levan Mdinaradze was arrested for illegal purchase and possession of drugs.