The Georgian government said in a statement that bank accounts of parties within the opposition Georgian Dream coalition have not been frozen and contrary to the Bidzina Ivanishvili-led coalition’s claims, use of the accounts, including flow of cash, have not been interrupted.
It emerged last week that bank accounts of the Georgian Dream have been levied by the authorities to collect the fine imposed on the coalition in late June. The authorities fined all six parties within the coalition, plus Ivanishvili's public movement, with GEL 2.38 million for allegedly receiving illegal non-monetary corporate donations from Ivanishvili-affiliated company. After the accounts were levied, portion of funds were diverted by the authorities to collect the fine.
English-language statement distributed on behalf of the Georgian Dream on August 17 says that over the last week, the Georgian authorities have “taken all of the funds out of the Bidzina Ivanishvili-Georgian Dream political coalition’s bank accounts and is now seizing all new campaign donations.”
“As a result, the coalition has no money to carry out campaign activities, such as holding rallies, advertising, printing campaign materials, or even driving from village to village to campaign,” the statement reads.
The Georgian government said in the statement on August 21 that it “categorically denies accusations being circulated by the lobbyists representing Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition claiming that the government has frozen the bank accounts of the Georgian Dream party or affiliated political parties.”
It also said that the National Bureau of Enforcement (NBE) started collection of fine without freezing the bank accounts.
“Up to date, only small portion of the fine, GEL 122,000 has been collected by the NBE through the collection orders,” the government said. “The Georgian Dream has raised officially in the last month GEL 730,000. Only 17 percent of it has been collected in order to enforce the fine. In general, since November 1st, 2011, up to July 25th, 2012, the Georgian Dream has raised GEL 44,539,123 (more than 26 million legally and more than 18 million identified illegal contributions). It is therefore not GEL 122,000 collection of fines (less than 0.3 percent of total income) that can prevent the Georgian Dream coalition from campaigning freely and actively all over the Georgian territory.”
“These false allegations are the latest in a series of attempts by the Georgian Dream to discredit Georgian institutions in advance of the October elections. The Government of Georgia calls on all parties to refrain from the campaign of slander and to focus on electoral objectives rather than trying to preemptively discredit the outcome of the elections,” the government said in the statement.
Earlier on August 21 co-rapporteurs from Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on honouring Georgia’s obligations expressed concern over seizure of bank accounts of political parties within the Georgian Dream opposition coalition and said that “disproportionate fines” levied by the State Audit Office “effectively undermine normal political activity by an opposition party.”