Bank of Georgia Keeps Silent on Theft of Millions of GEL, Bank Shares Keep Depreciating on London Stock Exchange
Bank of Georgia has been robbed. According to the bank’s official statement, the criminal case took place on October 24. According to media agencies, felons have stolen 10 million GEL from the bank. Guram Donadze, the former head of the Interior Ministry PR Service, has spread this information in social networks and media. The felony was committed by Bank of Georgia collectors, Donadze noted.
“The collection vehicle was loaded with cash taken from the bank storage. Having left the place, the vehicle disappeared from radars. The head of the collection service shift and his presumable accomplice abandoned the vehicle near Aghmashenebeli Avenue. Traffic police identified the automobile after Bank of Georgia notified the Interior Ministry of disappeared vehicle”, the information spread by Guram Donadze assures.
It is worth noting Bank of Georgia has confirmed the fact of theft, but the statement raised more questions in the society.
“Concerning the media information we would like to declare that the 24th of October 2015 has recorded the fact after which legal proceedings were instituted on charge of theft. Bank of Georgia had fully insured the losses inflicted by this felony. Bank of Georgia continues operation in an ordinary regime and the mentioned fact has not caused any frustration. The bank continues close cooperation with the investigating bodies and for sake of the investigation we would abstain from unveiling further details”, the special statement of Bank of Georgia reads.
This is a major and mysterious theft in the history of independent Georgia. Despite the huge amount of the stolen sum, law enforcement bodies have released no statement on the issue, while similar criminal cases should be widely covered in media along with outlining a presumable circle of felons to alleviate arresting the criminals. A week has passed since the fact and the silence goes on.
The information spread by media agencies has further mystified the situation. The INFO9 news agency reports the money has been already withdrawn from Georgia through the Larsi customs checkpoint, but this process would be impossible without support of the customs checkpoint’s staff if recall that 10 million GEL is over 100 kilogram in weight and it would be difficult to hide the sizes of this consignment.
However, according to the second variant the sum remains in Georgia, but law enforcers have not announced an intense search regime, nor called on the society to notify a police station about presumable whereabouts of the suspects.
The bank-employed collectors seemingly stole the sum and they managed to conceal themselves. This signifies the felons have been identified. The question rises why a security police automobile was not accompanying the collection vehicle loaded with such an amount of money. As a rule, the security police automobiles accompany Bank of Georgia collection vehicles in the city to ensure their security.
Bank of Georgia is trying to carefully conceal the historical theft, but the fact is since October 24 Bank of Georgia shares are depreciating at the London Stock Exchange every day, while the price of the shares was rising through October. Starting October 24 the price is declining every day. For the last 4 days, the price of Bank of Georgia shares has fallen by 6%.
Commercial banks should provide higher level of transparency compared to other private companies, because the activity of a credit institution largely depends on public confidence. If the bank is not creditworthy, nobody will either save deposits or take loans there.
Consequently, wrapping this historical theft into mysterious curtain will reap only negative results against the bank and the BOG shares depreciation at LSE proves this consideration. Surprisingly, Bank of Georgia does not realize this factor.
It is interesting that the bank keeps silent for these days concerning the amount of the lost sum, because Bank of Georgia has neither approved nor dismissed the information on 10 million GEL stolen.
It is worth noting that in 2014 the Global Finance international edition named Bank of Georgia as the most secured bank in the country. The Global Finance has identified the safest banks due to long-term credit ratings of Moody’s, Standard & Poor and Fitch Ratings, as well as due to total assets of commercial banks.
It is important that the companies should have clear opinion on how strong and stable their partner banks are, the Global Finance editor said.
Bank of Georgia may be the safest bank in Georgia in terms of credit rating and total assets, but it is clear the bank is vulnerable is terms of security. Even more so, for the last years Bank of Georgia has suffered from many robberies and thefts. Thus, Georgia’s strongest and largest commercial bank turned our vulnerable in terms of security services.