1999: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Money Laundering and Financial Crimes – Georgia Review
Georgia is not an important regional financial center, and its economy is too small to cover large flows of illicit foreign funds. Commercial banks are small but have the ability to clear and transfer funds electronically. Money laundering schemes are small-scale, used mostly to launder funds generated domestically through illegal activities, most of which are not connected with narcotics. Reportedly, some commercial banks have become involved in laundering funds generated by the smuggling of alcohol and cigarettes, but these proceeds are generally held in dollars outside the banking system. Although corruption is an issue in Georgia, no government official has been publicly linked to money laundering. The National Bank of Georgia plays a growing role in regulating the banking industry.
Georgia is a secondary transit route for narcotics flowing from Central Asia to Europe. The potential for Georgia to become an important narcotics transit route in the future is exacerbated by the lack of control the government exercises over some of its borders and territory. Despite recent efforts at reform and personnel changes, law enforcement agencies remain overstaffed, under-equipped, poorly paid, and have a reputation for corruption. In response to Government of Georgia (GOG) requests, the United States Government (USG) is providing training and equipment for the border guards and customs officials. Georgia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is working with the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP).
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly deployed an international election observation mission to monitor the parliamentary elections on 31 October and 14 November 1999.
The election-related laws established an adequate framework to conduct genuine multiparty elections, provided that the legal provisions were applied in a uniform and transparent manner. During the pre-election period, fundamental freedoms were generally respected. The heated competition between the leading political parties and election blocs confirms that political pluralism exists in Georgia, with a clear distinction between competing political interests. Occasionally the tone of the campaign went beyond acceptable limits of political competition. In particular, it is cause of deep concern that a few instances of violence and intimidation marred the pre-election period.