In our practice, there has been a growing number of cases where foreign owners of the real estate/apartments in Georgia have become the victims of a well-organized fraud. The number of such cases are concerning.
In all cases known to us, obtaining the title to the property has been executed on the basis of falsified PoAs (Power of Attorney), which, as if, were granted abroad and were presented to the Public Registry in a translated and apostilled form. Public Registry registers the agreements on the basis of these very PoAs, following which the relevant properties are quickly resold to e.g. “faithful buyers”. Unfortunately, there is no efficient practice in Public Registry in order to examine the PoAs granted outside of Georgia. These schemes are primarily used to obtain the title to the properties owned by the foreigners that frequently travel and/or do not reside in Georgia constantly or have the property rented. Often times the perpetrators have the luxury to easily change the door locks of the respective properties, as well.
As for the injured persons, restoring their right to property requires complex and long-lasting legal disputes, particularly considering the fact that in most cases, the proceedings take place in criminal and civil law directions.
One of the preventive measures to avert the aforementioned risks shall be addressing the Public Registry with a statement requesting that the agreement on the alienation of the property may not be registered on the real estate owned by you, on the basis of the PoA granted outside of Georgia.
In order not to become a victim of the fraud, BLB advises you to address the Public Registry with the above request.
As a result of the collaborative work of BLB’s criminal and civil law teams, 5 individuals were prosecuted in a similar category of fraud on charges of group fraud; victim in the case – foreign citizen restored his ownership rights over the property located in Tbilisi.