US Department of State: Much of the illegal income in Georgia derives from fraud, corruption, smuggling, tax evasion, and organized crime

The US Department of State has published a report on the International Narcotics Control Strategy 2018, which mentions Georgia as well.

“Much of the illegal income in Georgia derives from fraud, corruption, smuggling, tax evasion, and organized crime. There is a domestic market for illegal narcotics and narcotics also transit Georgia. The Russian-occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia fall outside the control of Government of Georgia authorities and are not subject to AML monitoring. Georgian prosecutors and law enforcement authorities should put more emphasis on pursuing the link between organized crime and money laundering. Georgia also should develop a task force approach, which will facilitate greater exchange of information and cooperation among the relevant bodies”, reads the report.

According to the report, illicit income is mainly generated from fraud-related crimes (scams, stolen banking cards, etc.) and cybercrime, either in Georgia or abroad.

“Banking systems and money transfer services are the primary means to move funds, where Georgia acts as just one link in the chain. Georgian banking institutions are used to transfer funds from one jurisdiction to another, often under the pretense of false documents or trade information”, reads the report.

Matthew Bryza  : That’s a big problem, the US President usually is not listening to his most senior advisers saying “pay attention to Georgia”