Amicus Curiae Brief Relating to Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze’s Case
On January 9, 2020, the Public Defender of Georgia filed an amicus curiae brief with the Tbilisi City Court in connection with the money laundering case against Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze. The document includes the key questions identified by the Public Defender as a result of studying 33 volumes of case materials, which should be considered by the court when making the final decision.
The amicus curiae brief is based on the content-related, structural and targeted analysis of the crime of legalization of illegal income (money laundering). The document explains why money laundering is a crime of conventional origin, what are the specific prerequisites, scheme and purpose it must have and why the relevant norm of the Criminal Code should be interpreted according to its autonomous content.
After legal analysis, the amicus curiae brief deals with the case of Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze. According to the document, the case materials do not contain the elements necessary for assessing an action as a crime of money laundering. In particular:
Prior to the process of legalization of the illegal income, it is necessary that there be illegally obtained "black money" and an attempt of the offender to integrate that money into the monetary-credit system. A predicate offence usually implies a systematic, repeat offence. However, the given case does not involve even a one-off preliminary, predicate offence, not to mention a repeat predicate offence.
Money laundering scheme
In general, the money laundering scheme consists of three steps. Initially, the illegally obtained money is usually paid into different bank accounts, after which many petty transactions are made so that the supervisory bodies are unable to determine the origin of the money, and finally, the money goes back to the offender's bank account.
According to the case materials, the defendants did not deposit the disputable money in different accounts, did not divide it into smaller amounts for the purpose of avoiding control, did not make small transactions and did not get the money back to their account, which should have been the main purpose of the crime.
Thus, the Public Defender considers that when considering the case and making the final decision, the court must rely on the international practice relating to money laundering, which refers to the necessary existence of the above elements.
The amicus curiae brief also includes reasoning on difference between money laundering and other economic offences, as well as correct interpretation of the criminal norm. The Public Defender hopes that the document will help the court make a fair assessment of the case and a proper decision.