Police seized on October 18 “large amount” of cash belonging to billionaire-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Tbilisi-based Cartu Bank.
Ivanishvili’s press office said in a statement that at about 5pm local time Cartu Bank’s cash-in-transit vehicle was stopped by police while it was transporting “large amount” of money from Bank of Georgia’s headquarters close to Freedom Square, seized the vehicle, money and arrested six employees of the Cartu Bank accompanying the vehicle, including four female cashiers.
Before this statement was released, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) posted on its website a brief statement saying that several individuals with “especially large amount of cash” were arrested in connection to money laundering.
The statement did not provide any other details.
Ivanishvili’s press office said in the statement that this “coercive measure” was “an attack on Cartu Bank” and personally on Ivanishvili.
“The Georgian authorities have launched open, aggressive and criminal attack against Bidzina Ivanishvili,” the statement reads. “We demand an immediate release of illegally arrested persons and return of seized property belonging to the Cartu Bank.”
Georgian Public Broadcaster and Rustavi 2 TV reported later, citing the Interior Ministry’s information that detainees were released after questioning. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the report.