Tbilisi City Court upheld on July 7 decision by the State Audit Service a day earlier to fine Burji and Management Service, companies affiliated with leader of Georgian Dream opposition coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili, with total of GEL 11 million (about USD 6.68 million).
Financial penalty was imposed on Burji for two separate cases with both of them involving allegation of violating party funding regulations while providing services to political parties within Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream coalition.
In one case Burji was fined with GEL 8.64 million (about USD 5.24 million) for, as the State Audit Agency claimed, donating non-monetary funding to the Georgian Dream in a form of providing transportation services “free of charge” with the use of 54 vehicles of various types in June.
Lawyers for Burji said the court’s ruling was unfair, which fully relied on groundless arguments of the State Audit Service; they have also denied that the company was providing transportation services free of charge. The lawyers also said, that the amount of fine itself was groundless, saying that the figure was defined not based on the worth of provided transportations services, but based on total value of 54 vehicles.
In another case, discussed by the Tbilisi City Court during a separate hearing also on July 7, Burji and another company, Management Service, were both fined with total of GEL 2.37 million (about USD 1.44 million).
The State Audit Service claimed that price for renovation of office spaces for Georgian Dream parties by Burji, contracted by Management Service, was artificially deflated, which in turn amounted to a non-monetary corporate donation. Lawyers representing Burji said that like in previous case, here too the court was biased in favor of the State Audit Service, which, the lawyers said, grossly inflated value of provided renovation works.