On 8 August, OCCRP reported that before being considered for EU membership, the EU Council has said that Georgia must implement reforms to make its institutions more accountable and democratic. However, it says that, in a new investigation, reporters from OCCRP’s Georgian partner, Studio Monitor, found that the problem extends to the highest levels of the country’s judiciary. It says that one of Georgia’s most influential judges, Levan Murusidze, failed to disclose assets belonging to his long-term romantic partner in his asset declarations. This ensured that the multiple apartments, expensive jewellery, and designer clothes she acquired in recent years were hidden from public scrutiny. Previously Studio Monitor had found that another influential judge, Mikheil Chinchaladze, had failed to declare significant real estate holdings registered to his aunt. It says that Murusidze and Chinchaladze are alleged to be the leaders of a powerful group of judges, known as “the clan”, that is said to be blocking the kind of reforms required to deepen Georgia’s ties to Europe.
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