26 February 2021,   20:36
Election subjects received a total of 38.6 million GEL from September 1 to November 17 - Transparency International

Transparency International Georgia has studied the issues of parliamentary election campaign finances from September 1 to November 17, 2020. In addition, it analyzed the donations received by political parties in more depth and reviewed the trends highlighted in this regard since January 1, 2020. Out of nine election subjects that received at least 1% of the votes, one subject (Girchi) did not submit the completed financial statements to the SAO. Therefore, the findings of the report are mainly based on the analysis of the financial declarations submitted by 8 election subjects:

“Revenues of election subjects

The studied election subjects received a total of GEL 38.6 million from September 1 to November 17. The ruling GD got almost half (45%) - GEL 17.3 million of this amount. Lelo - Mamuka Khazaradze took the second place with GEL 6 million, and the election bloc UNM-UOPU was third with GEL 5.7 million;
Only 10% (GEL 3.7 mln) of the total revenues received by the election subjects came from public funding, and 90% (GEL 34.9 mln) - from private funding. The small share of public funding is due to the fact that the reporting period was less than three months. Political parties receive an equal amount of public funding on a monthly basis, while funding from private sources is mainly concentrated during the election period;
The studied 8 election subjects received a total of GEL 33.4 million in donations, of which GEL 15.3 million (46% of all donations) went to the ruling GD party. Lelo – Mamuka Khazaradze took the second place with GEL 6 million and the election bloc UNM-UOPU was third with GEL 4.8 million. It should be noted that, compared to the 2016 parliamentary elections, the ruling party’s share in total donations has decreased. In particular, in 2016, the GD got 68% of the total donations received by political parties;
98% of the total donations received by the 8 electoral subjects were made by natural persons, and 2% – by legal persons. About 38% of the donors of the Georgian political parties have donated more than the average annual net salary in Georgia (GEL 11,900). Such donations account for about 85% of the donations received by all parties, which points to their dependence on large donors;
As it turned out, the companies connected with the donors of the ruling party had won tenders worth about GEL 68 million in 2020 (until November 17) and, in return, these donors had donated GEL 1.6 million for the benefit of the GD during the same period. Especially noteworthy is G & K Technology LLC, which won tenders worth GEL 17.2 million during the year, while its owner, Roman Abramishvili, donated GEL 60,000 to the GD, in February. Interestingly, Abramishvili made the donation after his company won several large tenders in a short period of time. It should be noted that this company was also included in TI Georgia’s report on political finance in 2019 for a similar action.[1] The dates of the won tenders and donations were also quite close to each other in the cases of Tsekuri LLC, Gravita LLC and G-T Group LLC. Another large state contractor is L. and K. LLC, which won tenders worth GEL 17.3 million in 2020, while its owners donated GEL 22,000 to the ruling party’s coffers. Yet another extremely interesting company is Arsakidze-2000 LLC, which won public tenders worth 2.2 million in 2020. The owners of this company are at the same time connected with Lilo-Mall LLC;
In addition to tenders, the companies of the natural persons donating to the ruling party are also recipients of simplified public procurements. In particular, Companies, which are directly or indirectly connected to persons who have contributed approximately GEL 2.2 million to the ruling party in 2020, received around GEL 4.2 million from simplified public procurement contracts until November 17, 2020. Kvareli Eden LLC is worth mentioning, which is owned by business partners of Alexandre Ivanishvili, a brother of Bidzina Ivanishvili. This company also came under the spotlight of TI Georgia in the spring of 2020, when, at the time of the state of emergency and several days after the donation of money by its owners, it concluded a large contract of simplified public procurement;
Over the years, several major groups had been formed among the ruling party’s donors that contributed large sums of money to the GD in almost every election. Three of these groups continued to make large donations in 2020. In particular, the individuals affiliated with Bidzina Ivanishvili donated GEL 544,300 in total to the GD. The individuals connected with Lilo-Mall LLC gave GEL 595,000 in total to the ruling party, and the individuals directly or indirectly connected with Bombora and Children LLC donated GEL 255,000 to the same party;
We have separately studied the donations of the majoritarian MP candidates of election subjects. 7 of the 30 majoritarian candidates nominated by the ruling party (including their family members and business partners) have donated GEL 1,035,000 to the party from January 1 to November 17, 2020, which was 5% of the total donations received by the party during this period. All the 7 majoritarian candidates are big businessmen and are connected with 127 companies in total in this or that form. These candidates are: Zaal Dugladze, Anton Obolashvili, Gocha Enukidze, Zaza Lominadze, Irakli Khakhubia, Davit Songhulashvili, and Vasil Chigogidze. There were also cases when business partners of one majoritarian candidate donated the same amount of money to the party on the same day;
15 of the 25 majoritarian candidates nominated by the election bloc UNM – UOPU have donated GEL 565,670 to the parties comprising the election bloc from January 1 to November 17, 2020, which amounted to 10% of the total donations received by the bloc during this period. Out of this amount, GEL 105,000 was donated by 4 business partners of the majoritarian candidate Murtaz Zodelava on the same day – October 8;
7 of the 29 majoritarian candidates nominated by the Alliance of Patriots have donated GEL 421,990 to the party during two months before the parliamentary elections, which amounted to 23% of the total donations received by the party during the year. From this amount, GEL 185,000 was donated by four majoritarian candidates on the same day – September 10;
Only the ruling party had an opportunity to take a bank loan to fund its campaign. This party received a loan of GEL 1 million from Liberty Bank”, - reads the report.