Prosecutor’s Office starts investigating ‘the threatening letter’ TBC founder says he received from current PM

TBC Bank Founder Mamuka Khazaradze first mentioned the letter back in March 2019., 23 Oct 2019 - 11:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office has started investigating the letter Georgian TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze says he received from current PM, Giorgi Gakharia, at the end of 2018, and which “contain threats to him.” 

Khazaradze submitted the original letter to the Prosecutor’s Office on October 21, after the document had been studied in London and “where experts found 17 fingerprints on it,” as stated by Khazaradze. 

 It should be noted that the letter has been available for a wide circle of people in different countries for several months, which makes it difficult to carry out an effective study on it,” the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said.

Khazaradze, who faces money laundering charges in Georgia related to TBC Bank, first mentioned the letter earlier in March [2019] while speaking in parliament about the case against him and gave the copy of the letter to the Prosecutor’s Office shortly after. 

However, that time the Prosecutor’s Office refused to open an investigation due to the lack of the original document, stating that“it is impossible to study a copy.”

Founders of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze (L) and Badri Japaridze are now on 700,000 GEL bail each due to money laundering case. Photo: RFE/RL. 

The Prosecutor’s Office released the copy of the letter on March 6 2019, stating that it had been typed on a computer and “included no signs” of having been written by then Interior Minister [and current PM] Gakharia.

The letter which was released read that M. Kh. (allegedly Mamuka Khazaradze) should have spoken out against the United National Movement opposition party ahead of the second round of presidential elections in November 2018, as he had allegedly been directed to do. 

The letter also mentioned Artarea TV channel in an unclear context, along with further threats saying that ‘if demands are not met we will use all measures [against you].”

Now that he has submitted the original letter Khazaradze is requesting that the Prosecutor’s Office find out whose fingerprints are on the letter and how their owner(s)  may be connected with the case.

Gakharia has previously stated that he “never writes letters” and called Khazaradze a “privileged businessman gossiping from the parliamentary tribune.” 

Speaking with the media on October 21 Gakharia said that he is ready to come to the Prosecutor’s Office if summoned. 

Shortly after the launch of the investigation into the money laundering case [in winter of 2019] Khazaradze founded a civic movement Lelo and has plans to create a political party ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections.