The Suspiciously Rapid Enrichment Of Aleksandre Tchikaidze Must Be Investigated
Aleksandre Tchikaidze, the former Minister of Internal Affairs, has accumulated large amounts of real estate under suspicious circumstances after he left public service at the end of 2017. Upon leaving public service, Tchikaidze had a substantial bank loan and no savings. Nevertheless, within just two years, Tchikaidze and his spouse managed to acquire 5 real estate properties – 224.72 sq.m of living space and 216,778 sq. m in land plots – at suspiciously low prices.
Aleksandre Tchikaidze headed the Ministry of Internal Affairs from November 20, 2013 to January 23, 2015. He was then appointed Deputy Secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council, however, the Council was abolished in November 2017. Since January 2018, Tchikaidze has served as the Vice-President of the National Wrestling Federation.
The rapid enrichment of a former public official calls into question the lawfulness of the accumulation of wealth. Moreover, Aleksandre Tchikaidze has a history of improperly filling his asset declarations in the period of holding of various positions in the public service.
Transparency International Georgia periodically reviews the public asset declarations of former and current public officials in order to reveal instances of unlawful enrichment and possible cases of conflict of interests.
Chronology of enrichment
In January 2018, at the time of leaving the public service, Aleksandre Tchikaidze had 4 real estate properties registered in his name, and only 2 of these were reflected in his asset declarations:
- A 100.1 sq.m apartment in Tbilisi on Bakhtrioni Street, which he received through the right of inheritance;
- A 293 sq.m apartment purchased for $169,000 on November 29, 2013. Located in Tbilisi, between the Kazbegi and Mitskevichi Streets. For this purchase, Tchikaidze took a loan to a total value of $140,000 from the Bank of Georgia;
- On May 6, 2016, Tchikaidze inherited 15,000 sq.m of agricultural land, including two houses on the same property, in the Dusheti Municipality. He did not include this information in the 2017 and 2018 public asset declarations.
- On September 11, 2017, Tchikaidze purchased 2,300 sq.m of land for GEL 3,500 in Mukhrani village, Mtskheta. Despite legal obligation, he did not include information on this purchase in his public asset declaration in 2018.
Upon leaving the public service, Aleksandre Tchikaidze and his spouse acquired real estate properties to a total value of GEL 278,766 - 224.72 sq.m of living space and 216,778 sq. m in land plots. These acquisitions were made over a period of less than two years, namely from January 2018 to November 2019.
- On May 25, 2018, Tchikaidze purchased 139.62 sq.m apartment under construction and terrace for GEL 59,266 in Batumi, Pirosmani Street 18.
- On September 17, 2018, Tchikaidze purchased 142,865 sq.m agricultural land for GEL 60,000 in Tsinandali.
- On the same, Tchikaidze purchased 72,113 sq.m agricultural land for GEL 30,000 in Tsinandali
- On March 7, 2019, Tchikaidze purchased 1,800 sq.m agricultural land for GEL 40,000 in Saguramo.
- On November 20, 2019, Aleksandre Tchikaidze’s spouse, Natia Okribelashvili, purchased 85.1 sq. m cottage house for USD 10,000 in Bakuriani.
You can view Aleksandre Tchikaidze’s real estate purchase agreements and other documentation at the following link.
- The rapid accumulation of real estate properties over a short time by a senior public official after leaving public office is by itself a suspicious circumstance.
- His new position – Vice President of the Wrestling Federation – is officially a non-remunerated position.
- According to his latest public asset declaration, Aleksandre Tchikaidze has no savings or money on his bank account that could have been used for the real estate purchases. In addition, according to the same asset declaration, Tchikaidze has a substantial mortgage loan until 2023.
- Upon leaving the public service, Tchikaidze took out a new bank loan on September 30, 2019, which is after he had already purchased properties in Batumi, Tsinandali and Saguramo.
- The prices for the real estate properties purchased are suspiciously low. There are serious questions about the price of the real estate property purchased in Saguramo in March 2019. According to the real estate purchase agreement, the land was acquired for GEL 40,000. However, according to the mortgage contract signed 9 months (12.12.2019) later, the Bank of Georgia puts the property valuation at USD 110,000.
- Aleksandre Tchikaidze shows signs of active involvement in entrepreneurial activity since the summer (July) of 2019, after he had already acquired the principal part of his real estate properties. On July 3, 2019, he received 50% of shares of LTD “Georgian Vingza” at no cost. Tchikaidze also founded two companies: LTD “Sanle Group” on July 24, 2019, in which he holds 50% of the shares, and LTD “Rtvelisi”, in which he holds 25% of the shares.
- Tchikaidze held 51% of the shares of LTD “New Helsi” from April 2, 2018 to February 22, 2019, which he surrendered at no cost. He first engaged in entrepreneurial activity was in 2016, 15 months after leaving the position of Minister of Internal Affairs, when he established LTD “Legioni 2016”, a company in the field of “security”, with Isko Daseni, an MP from the parliamentary majority. Aleksandre Tchikaidze did not indicate in his 2017 public asset declaration that he held 49% of shares in this company from April 26 to November 3, 2016 which he sold off for GEL 100.
Dishonestly filled-in public asset declarations
Since 2012, Aleksandre Tchikaidze had submitted 6 public asset declarations, out of which 3 did not provide complete and exhaustive information and thus constituted a violation of the law.
- In his latest 2018 public asset declaration, Tchikaidze did not indicate the 2,300 sq.m of agricultural land purchased in Mukhrani village on September 12, 2017.
- In his 2017 public asset declaration, Tchikaidze did not indicate the ownership of 49% of shares in LTD “Legioni 2016” that he held from April 26 to November 4, 2016. Moreover, despite the requirement of the law, Tchikaidze did not transfer the ownership of his shares for management to another person. (Article 13(6))
- In his 2017 public asset declaration, Tchikaidze did not indicate that he had inherited 15,000 sq.m agricultural land with two houses on May 6, 2016, in the Municipality of Dusheti. Information on this real estate was not provided in the 2018 public asset declaration either.
We call on the respective investigative bodies to look into the money sources used by Aleksandre Tchikaidze and his spouse in the purchase of real estate properties in the time period from January 2018 to November 2019 and to determine the lawfulness of these acquisitions.