Prosecutor’s office said on August 20 it launched a probe into undeclared bank account of UNM parliamentary minority leader MP Davit Bakradze.
It also said that origins of over 276,000 British pounds, which was deposited on the two accounts in question in HSBC bank, would also be examined.
Information about these bank accounts emerged after two letters purportedly from HSBC UK addressed to Bakradze and his wife were posted by anonymous user on a fake Facebook account on August 19, The July 28, 2014 letters were notifying Bakradze and his wife about closure of their deposits upon their instructions; letters were then reposted by some Georgian websites.
Prosecutor’s office said that the information reported by some media sources about Bakradze’s bank accounts indicate on possible crime. It said that information about those bank accounts and amount of money on those accounts was not indicated by Bakradze in annual asset declaration of public officials.
Investigation has been launched under the two clauses of criminal code – one dealing with legalization of illicit income and another one with deliberately providing incorrect or incomplete data in the annual asset declaration, according to the prosecutor’s office.
In a written statement on August 20, MP Bakradze, who was speaker of the parliament in 2008-2012, confirmed depositing USD 400,000 in HSBC in 2009. The money, he said, came from sale of his father-in-law’s house in Krtsanisi district of Tbilisi in 2002; the property was purchased by the Swiss embassy, said Bakradze, who also released the relevant sale and purchase contract. He also said that his bank accounts have nothing to do with illicit income
In 2010 asset declaration Bakradze indicated about having USD 40,000 deposit at HSBC, but there was no mention of this bank account in his declarations in following years.
In the statement Bakradze said the fact that correspondence between the bank and its client was made publicly available demonstrates government’s continued practice of illegal surveillance. Bakradze said it also shows that the government is “widely applying and encouraging practice of persecution and surveillance of political opponents, as well as publishing of confidential private information for the purpose of revenge.”