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The Tbilisi City Court sentenced founders of TBC Bank and opposition Lelo party Mamuka Khazaradze, Badri Japaridze and businessman Avtandil Tserteli guilty of fraud and sentenced them to seven years of prison, but let the three walk free noting statute of limitations had passed by the time of the ruling.
The Court also re-qualified the initial charges of money laundering to Article 180 (2a, 3b) of the Criminal Code, involving fraud committed by more than one person and in large quantities.
Justice Giorgi Arevadze cleared the pretrial measures of bail and prohibition on leaving the country imposed on the three persons and ruled to unfreeze their assets and bank accounts.
Khazaradze, Japaridze and Tsereteli were charged in 2019 with laundering the sum of USD 17 million in 2008, facing nine to twelve years in prison. The prosecution argued TBC Bank loaned the amount to Tsereteli’s companies in April and May of 2008, and Tsereteli funneled the money back to Khazaradze and Japaridze. Subsequently, TBC bank wrote off the loan in 2012, according to the investigation.