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Government Attacked Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Bank


Aleksi Bezhanishvili

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Cartu Bank stated that it is completely unclear for them why police charged them for money laundering while they conducted procedures of cash-reinforcement.

On October 18, Cartu Bank’s cash-in-transit vehicle was stopped by police while it was transporting cash from Bank of Georgia’s headquarters close to Freedom Square, seized the vehicle, 2 million USD and 1 million Euro, cash-in-transit vehicle VOLKSWAGEN  and arrested six employees of the Cartu Bank accompanying the vehicle. Later, after interrogation the detainees were released.

The MIA stated that criminal case was launched under the charge of money laundering – this argument and shifted management in Cartu Bank became motive for the National Bank of Georgia to probe the Cartu Bank’s activities in the framework of its supervision functions.

Cartu Bank clarified in its October 19 statement that on October 18 they signed two standard bank agreements on 2 million USD and 1 million Euro between two banks [Cartu Bank and Bank of Georgia] in the framework of the general agreement on Treasury Operation Procedures.

“Case was launched under Article 194 Part III of the Criminal Code of Georgia (legalization (money laundering) of particularly large amount of illegal revenues). Administration of the JSC Cartu Bank cannot understand how the ordinary bank operation was considered to be a money-laundering,” the statement of the Cartu Bank reads.

Simultaneously, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s press-center also spread a statement which stated that On October 18, 2011, at 5:00 pm a cash-in-transit van of the Cartu Bank, which had just left the head office of the Bank of Georgia, was stopped by police; six employees of the bank were detained including four female tellers as well as the van which was transporting particularly large amount of money of the Cartu Bank.

Ivanishvili’s press-center also stated that it was violent attack against Cartu Bank which belongs to businessman Ivanishvili.

“Georgian government started open, aggressive and criminal campaign against Bidzina Ivanishvili. We request immediate release of the detainees and return of the Cartu Bank’s property,” the statement reads.
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) said in a statement on October 19, that it was launching a probe into some of the recent “important” developments that took place in connection to Tbilisi-based Cartu Bank, owned by billionaire-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili.

NBG’s written statement does not provide many details, but lists two facts as reasons behind its decision – criminal charges initiated in connection to alleged money laundering and change of top management in the Cartu Bank.

“One of the aims of the Georgian National Bank is to secure healthy financial environment. In pursuing these goals, the National Bank carries out effective supervision of commercial banks. Based on the law, the banking supervision is carried out both in distance and on the ground. Intensity of inspection depends on a risk profile of a bank, also on extraordinary situations”, the statement of the GNB reads.

 “Several such important facts have taken place in connection to the Cartu Bank; in particular: chairman of the supervisory board, general director and deputies of general director have filed for resignation,” NBG’s statement reads.

Chairman of Cartu Bank’s supervisory board, Giorgi Chrdileli, who also was president of Cartu Group, had to resign immediately after Ivanishvili publicly accused him of being the government’s “agent”. Several others from the bank’s top management also resigned in the wake of Chrdileli’s sacking.

“Apart of this fact, a detailed probe is required into the case that occurred on October 18 in Cartu Bank in connection of which criminal charges have been brought under the part three of article 194 of the criminal code (laundering of very large amount of money),” the statement reads without providing details of the case.

 “The National Bank, as a regulator of the banking sector and a guarantor of the country’s financial stability, has decided to evaluate situation in Cartu Bank on the ground, to receive answers on all the questions and based on the results [of the probe] to define the bank’s future supervisory strategy,” the central bank said.

Article Prepared according to www.civil.ge

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