Georgian bank accounts of a retired footballer Kakha Kaladze, who is running for a seat in parliament as a candidate for Bidzina Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream coalition, have been frozen as part of ongoing investigation into “alleged legalization of illegal income i.e. money laundering,” the Georgian chief prosecutor’s office said on July 27.
Kaladze, who was a captain of the Georgian national team and who won the Champions League on two occasions with AC Milan, is running as a majoritarian MP candidate in his native Samtredia single-mandate constituency in western Georgia.
News about freezing of Kaladze’s bank accounts was first reported on July 26 when his lawyer said that the case involved alleged money laundering, but details at the time were not clear.
The chief prosecutor’s office said in a statement on July 27, that Kaladze “in a short period of time” received on his bank accounts USD 6 million and then withdrew in cash total of USD 1.6 million.
“As there is no evidence of depositing the money in another financial institution or using it for a legitimate transaction, the operation qualifies as suspicious under Georgian and international standards,” the chief prosecutor’s office said.
“Therefore, the relevant authorities are obligated by both Georgian anti money-laundering legislation and the international treaties and other binding international standards to investigate the suspicious transaction involving large amount of cash ($1.6 million) and freeze the accounts before the investigation is completed,” it said.
Kaladze’s lawyers said that the court’s July 26 decision to freeze accounts in three various banks was unjustified; the ruling has been appealed to higher court.