UNM parliamentary minority leader MP Davit Bakradze spent about six hours in prosecutor’s office on August 29 as he was questioned by investigators over his and his wife’s undeclared bank accounts.
Bakradze’s wife Maka Metreveli was also questioned by prosecutors separately on the same day.
The case involves over 276,000 British pounds, which was deposited on the two accounts in HSBC bank and which was not indicated in Bakradze’s annual asset declarations of public officials.
Investigation was opened on August 20 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. No one has yet been charged.
“Deliberately” providing incorrect or incomplete data in an annual asset declaration is a criminal offense, carrying fine or up to 200 hours of community service or suspension from office as a punishment.
Information about the bank accounts in question emerged after two letters 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.
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.
Bakradze says that he was not obliged to indicate these bank accounts in his annual declarations because money in these accounts was “not at his disposal” and was intended for his two children, who received it from their grandfather.
“They [prosecutors] received comprehensive answers to all of their questions,” Bakradze told journalists after the interrogation. “I hope during these six hours prosecutors received enough information from me to ascertain that I have done nothing illegal.”
He said that law enforcement agencies should investigate violation of his privacy rights as letters from the bank addressed to him and his wife were “illegally opened” at the post office and then posted on the internet.