TBILISI, DFWatch — Ex Defense Minister Dimitry Shashkin lives in the United States in a luxurious $4000/month house and claims to have earned his fortune while working for an American corporation.
But what corporation does he mean? The former prison, defense and education minister says in an interview that he earned his fortune before joining the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The only known job he held during those years was at the International Republican Institute (IRI), and a document obtained by DF Watch shows that his salary in that job could not possibly have been enough to explain his current fortune, which grew further during his time as minister.
Dimitry Shashkin, the young politician with the Van Dyke beard, left the country for the U.S. after President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party’s defeat in the parliamentary election. He gave an interview to news agency Newsport, which is published on his official Facebook page, dated December 13, 2012.
In the interview, he tells how he secretly left Georgia by using his diplomatic passport. Shashkin was defense minister for the last three months in government. Before that, he was education minister for three years and prison minister before that.
He explained that his family was in danger in Georgia and that’s why he decided to leave.
Shashkin’s disappearance raised questions. The former minister explains that he is in possession of state secrets from his time in government.
He says that kind of secrets may “become potentially dangerous for a person who owns this information”, without specifying further details.
Talking about his current living place in USA, Shashkin says he is now living in a luxurious condominium complex in Maryland, which DF Watch understands costs at least USD 4 000 per month.
“I worked at the American corporation for eleven years. I used to have very high income. I have many friends here. In 2009, when I joined the government, I was a wealthy man and I never purchased any property in while I held an official post. My property declarations are public. My experience and knowledge is valued in the US and other countries,” he says.
According to the 2009 property declaration, he received USD 6 000 as a salary as IRI’s Georgia director.
DF Watch is in possession of a document which shows the salaries of IRI employees, according to which Shashkin received USD 1 400 a month, USD 16 800 a year, which is different from what he has written in his property declaration.
Dimitry Shahskin was an IRI employee from 1998. He became coordinator of the organization’s Georgia program in 2008. The salary of a coordinator is lower.
But in his declaration he writes that he received about USD 92 000, while he was minister from 2009 to 2011. There is no information about the property declaration for the year 2012 yet.
According to his previous declarations he and his family didn’t own cash money, while USD 20 000 was on his personal accounts.
He and his family owned very expensive real estate assets, but nothing was added to this property in the last declarations.
According to the declarations for 2009-2011, none of Shashkin’s family members owned industry inside or outside the country nor did they own obligations. They further never received presents worth more than USD 300.
Due to the fact that the figures Shashkin is declaring are contradictory, there’s a suspicion that he might be lying.
We contacted him through Facebook to ask questions about this issue. He told us his family owns a house, which he built in 2003. In 2002, he purchased 250 square meters of land and in 2005 he bought a flat by taking a loan.
“I don’t have any other property,” he answered. “In order to build the house, me and my wife sold a flat and a shop, which was the property of my wife.”
The former minister told us that he worked at IRI for eleven years, and used to also do work during elections in other countries.
“I cannot agree with you that the salary at IRI was low. For example in 1998, USD 500 was very good money,” he says, adding that he also took contract assignments privately in Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Latvia and Austria in 1998-2008, but he doesn’t specify how much money he received from those contracts.
Shashkin does not state any large amounts of money on his bank accounts in his property declarations for those years. It is therefore still difficult to explain where he got the money for his new life in Washington.
“In July, I sold my car (bought on credit) for USD 31 000. My friends and parents also helped me, as well as my American friends with whom I worked in many countries,” he said.
Shashkin told DF Watch that in one month he will go back to Georgia and answer all questions.