TBILISI, DFWatch – Three Georgian Dream activists were arrested July 16 on suspicion of bribery.
According to the Justice Ministry, one of the suspects, Merab Kachakhidze, transferred 7 000 lari to the chair of the Conservative party’s branch in Mtatsminda district and the chair distributed this money to six persons so that they could donate money in favor of Georgian Dream.
Kachakhidze represents the Conservative Party, which is a member of the Georgian Dream coalition.
Georgian election legislation, which was amended two months after Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to participate in elections, applies restriction so that a party member can only donate 1 200 lari per year as membership fee. A citizen can donate maximum 60 000 lari to a party and the law prohibits donations in the name of another person.
The Justice Ministry reports that Teimuraz Sheklashvili and Tariel Kardava from the National Forum implemented the same actions as Kachakhidze, having attempt to donate 1 750 lari to the account of the party.
The Interior Ministry Tuesday released a statement about the arrest of the three. All three will appear in court on Wednesday.
At a briefing Tuesday, Bidzina Ivanishivli, unofficial leader of Georgian Dream, described the arrests as politically motivated.
“There is no doubt that this is a form of political persecution. This is how Saakashvili’s team fights its opponents,” he said.