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Georgian authorities possessed by spirit of Beria2010-10-07 15:10
Yesterday the Investigation Service at Georgia's finance ministry held a large-scale operation to block one of the biggest smuggling routes leading to the country. As the financial authority reports, at the time of the operation Trans Cargo employees involved in illegal imports and falsification of financial documents, as well as over 70 tenants in Passage and Kidobani shopping centers were detained. However, the experts believe that the Finance Ministry's success might distress some security structures affiliated with Trans Cargo.
As acknowledged by the preliminary inquest, Trans Cargo representatives charged 80 US cents per each kilogram of illegal cargo. Thus, the "black" earnings from transportation of smuggled goods and preparation of false documents for one truck amounted to USD 20-30 thousand. Trans Cargo did 5-6 such shipments per month on average.
The suspects are incriminated in falsifying customs declarations containing false data. The total of under-received tax revenues is immense. The exact amount of the damage to the state budget is to be calculated. All detainees interrogated by the Finance Ministry investigators are in a temporary detention center.
This heavy-handed operation caused resentment among colleagues of the detained entrepreneurs. Passage and Kidobani shopping centers, the largest ones in Tbilisi, are temporarily closed with tenants showing solidarity with the arrested. Relatives of persons suspected in smuggling by the finance ministry have gathered near Passage and Kidobani claiming that the entrepreneurs were detained inside and outside the shopping centers, at home and at the customs office.
Some detained traders deny knowing Trans Cargo schemes. The Finance ministry, naturally, claims the opposite. Still, the status of individual entrepreneurs of most arrestees and an extremely modest scope of their businesses is not to the Finance Ministry's credit. Besides, there are detainees who personally came to the Investigation Service upon invitation from its officers to be arrested therein. This behavior is not characteristic of those involved in serious economic crimes.
As well-known economist Teymuraz Murgulia remarked, the scope of businesses of the detainees does not need knowledge of all details of customs clearance. According to the expert, this massive detention could have three interrelated purposes except for an obvious desire to show efficiency of Georgian law-enforcement bodies.