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Former Minister of Defence of Georgia Accused of Bribery

Published: January 30, 2013 | 6:10 pm
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The COMMERCIAL TIMES

David Kezerashvili, former Minister of Finance of Georgia, is accused of bribery, according to the special statement by the Investigation Service of Ministry of Finance.

The investigation says that Kezerashvili, motivated to get personal benefit, agreed with a criminal group members Nikoloz davitashvili and Ioseb Imnadze. Former Minister of Defense used his power and covered illegal activities of the group. In particular, N.Davitashvili and I.Imnadze determined to produce false cognac alcohol. By producing cognac-like alcohol from ethyl alcohol, self-value decreases and increases volume.

To implement the determined plan, the group members registered Ltd. Gantiadi and Ltd Napareuli. In order to avoid state taxes, they made up a criminal plan so that ethyl alcohol entered local market without going import tax procedures.

The group needed a state official to help them push the criminal plan through and contacted Meiri Janashvili, brother-in law of David Kezerashvili, who was the Head of the Financial Police by that time. Group members asked Janashvili to inform Kezerashvili about the criminal plan. Kezerashvili agreed to use his status in assisting illegal activities and in exchange, took bribe.

David Kezerashvili promised to use his influence on customs, tax and other controlling bodies. I. Imnadze and N. Davitashvili, after getting confirmation from Kezerashvili, ordered 480 tones of ethyl alcohol to a Ukrainian alcohol producer and started illegal activities.

Since January, 2007 till 2012 David Kezerashvili received USD 12 334 683 bribe. During this period, overall 19 868 312 litres of ethyl alcohol was imported in Georgia, because of hidden taxes government suffered GEL 49 392 341 loss.

Investigation continues in accordance with the second part of 210th chapter and the second part of 338th chapter of Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisions arrest from 11 to 15 years.

Kezerashvili worked in the Finance Ministry from 2004 until November 2006, including a role as chair of the financial police force. On November 11, 2006, he was appointed as Georgian Defense Minister, replacing Irakli Okruashvili. He was dismissed from this post amid criticisms over the Georgia-Russia war on December 5, 2008.

Kezerashvili’s name is associated with shadow businesses. His name is frequently mentioned while speaking about oil sector. Five companies control oil market in Georgia: Wissol, Socar, RomPetrol, Gulf and Lukoil. In November, 2012 Gulf informed that the former Defense Minister from November 2006 until December 2008, was not any more on the list of Gulf Georgia shareholders.

On October 10, 2012 Media Georgia LLC owned by former defense minister David Kezerashvili sold 40 percent of Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company shares after 5 days of purchasing them. The shares were sold to businessman Giorgi Karamanishvili.  Karamanishvili also bought 50% of the television company Mze from the same company.  The coinciding change was made in the Business Registry on 9 October 2012.

Reportedly, Giorgi (Gia) Karamanishvili is a friend of President Mikheil Saakashvili.  They studied in the same group in Kiev.  President spoke about Karamanishvili in his speech made in 2005, when commenting to the so called presidential elections in Abkhazia.

 

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