Saakashvili’s ruling party has official donors among accused mafia members

Saakashvili’s ruling party UNM is financed by persons accused to be members of organized criminal groups – how Georgian prosecution converts people from criminals to ruling party donors

Maya Metskhvarishvili

Original story on Georgian at –

Among the Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) donors, along with businessmen and party functionaries, are the people who have been detained, as members of organized mafia.  According to the Georgian Department of Financial monitoring of the Chamber of Control, the ruling party has an unbeatable lead in received donations – 1,768, 492 GEL (over $1.9M) from 75 individuals during January 1 – June 19, 2012 period.

But surprisingly, among those donors there are people which have been charged by Georgian prosecutors as organized criminal groups members. For Example, Sergo Labartkava and Tamaz Jamagadze have donated 40,000 GEL (app. $25,000) each – to the UNM. They were detained by Constitutional Security Department (CSD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in March 30, 2010 as members of organized criminal group for having promised a businessman to decrease his taxes and fraudulently received 370,000 GEL (around $228,000).  This crime is a subject to 10 years imprisonment according to Georgian criminal code, but apparently instead of being sent to jail these individuals have now become UNM’s donors.

Another “donor” is Elgudja Beriashvili who donated 20,000 GEL to UNM ($12,300). He was an official with the Ministry of Economics who was detained for an especially large bribery incident, normally subject of 15 year imprisonment. Again, we don’t know why and how this person remains free, but his name in present on the official donors’ list and donations of this sum raise clear suspicions.

Zurab Inasaridze, owner of Iberia Trading Ltd. was also detained by CSD for customs tax evasion worth tens of thousands GEL. Now Mr. Inasaridze has donated 12,000 GEL ($7,500)  to UNM.

Besides those names, there are many businessmen in the UNM donors’ list, who for years have provided an especially supportive environment for the government as they have won a majority of state-announced tenders.



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