TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili suggests that the government decriminalizes economic crime, because of the importance of continuing to attract investments.

Saakashvili said at a press conference at his palace in Tbilisi Thursday that he regularly receives information from the National Bank about VAT turnover and investments and considering those data he sees there are ‘alarming trends in Georgia’s economy.’

A few days ago, the president also said that the new government has halted projects which his government started, and this way they interrupted the creation of thousands of jobs, as well as the development of the economy.

However, his statement could not be confirmed. Some of those projects were stopped when his government was in power.

The president has not explained further, but he says based on data from the National Bank there are ‘alarming trends in regards to reduced investments as well.’

“The government tells investors that there won’t be economic growth in the next three years. The year started with bad indicators and so we need special measures to bring investors back,” he said, adding that he suggests announcing full economic amnesty for all tax and economic debt before 2013.

There are reports that the previous government made illegal deals with business. As part of these deals, businessmen were allowed to not pay taxes and there is a suspicion that those business people who were close to the previous government have large amounts of tax debt.

The Prosecutor’s Office is now studying specific cases of such deals. There is therefore a suspicion that the president wants to prevent these cases from being investigated and that this is the real reason behind his new initiative, not a wish to attract investors.

The government has not yet commented on his proposal.

The president also suggests to decriminalize economic crime and to prohibit custodial sentence for such crimes.

The parties now in government have many times suggested such an initiative, but Saakashvili’s government never considered it.