Public Defender’s Statement on Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze’s Case
On December 16, 2021, the Tbilisi City Court will hold a final hearing in the case of Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze. We would like to remind the public that on January 9, 2020, the Public Defender of Georgia submitted an amicus curiae brief relating to the mentioned case. The document relies on the key issues identified as a result of the full examination of 33 volumes of case materials and reviews the substantive, structural and targeted elements of the crime of money laundering.
In the amicus curiae brief, the Public Defender discusses why money laundering is a crime of conventional origin, what special preconditions, scheme and purpose are required to commit this crime and why the relevant norm in the Criminal Code should be interpreted according to its autonomous content. After providing legal analysis, the amicus curiae brief reviews evidence in the above-mentioned case.
Due to the conventional content of the crime of money laundering, the document focuses on the following issues:
- Commission of a predicate offence - In order to launder money, there should be an offence (usually committed regularly and repeatedly), as a result of which, the person has obtained "black money". There is no evidence of such an offence in the present case;
- Illegal legalization scheme - The money laundering scheme consists of three stages. Initially, money is deposited in various bank accounts, then many small transactions are carried out in order to prevent the controlling authorities from establishing the origin of the money, and finally the money is returned to the culprit's bank account. According to the case materials, the defendants did not deposit money in various accounts, did not break it down into small amounts and did not carry out small transactions.
- Purpose of money laundering - The purpose of money laundering is to return money, obtained criminally and disguised as legal through small transactions, back to the legal account. The case does not show any return of money to the defendants' accounts, which indicates that the action described in the indictment cannot be money laundering.
The Public Defender hopes that this document will help the court make a fair assessment of the case and take into account international experience and practice regarding the substantial elements of the crime of money laundering.