Dear members of the International Community,
We have learned from the press on August 27, that the Prosecutor General of Georgia had sent a letter to the UK Authorities requesting them to freeze the bank accounts of two Georgian businessmen, Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze on the ground of “alleged money laundering”.
As you are probably aware, this slanderous and libelous campaign organized against the above two mentioned gentlemen is sponsored and orchestrated by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the oligarch who runs Georgia from the shadows, and who over the years has appointed his personal staff as ministers and at other high positions in the government; he also appointed his personal lawyer as Prosecutor General, in a country in which the Judiciary is overwhelmingly corrupted and under his direct influence and orders.
Mr. Khazaradze and Mr. Japaridze enjoy an immaculate reputation both in Georgia and internationally; they are highly respected members of the Georgian community, and in addition to the several successful businesses that they run, they are the founders of TBC Bank, the largest financial institution in the country and one of the few Georgian companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.
As a matter of fact they are among the very few businesspeople in Georgia who have always handled their businesses in full transparency and who are considered to be a role model of integrity, ethics and honesty.
Those of you who follow the Georgian news will surely remember that late 2018, Mr. Ivanishvili had stated publicly on television that he had personal issues with Mr. Khazaradze; this statement was followed a few days later by a well-organized and synchronized government attack on Messrs Khazaradze and Japaridze’s bank, with the simultaneous participation of the Financial Monitoring Service, the Revenue Service, the National Bank and the Prosecutor Office, who out of the blue and eleven years later decided all of a sudden to investigate one transaction for alleged money laundering.
The unlawful efforts of Bidzina Ivanishvili to discredit, harm and bankrupt Messrs. Khazaradze and Japaridze and their various businesses, relate to the Anaklia Port Development that they are in the process of building and that seems to conflict with the interests and agenda of Mr. Ivanishvili.
In addition to that, the Prosecutor General has seized their personal accounts in Georgia a few days ago, following a public announcement that they had made regarding the launching of a new public movement to restore the rule of law in the country and to put an end to corruption.
The aim of the Prosecutor General in seizing Messrs. Khazaradze and Japaridze’s accounts in Georgia and in the UK, is to cripple them financially so they would fail to complete the construction of the Port of Anaklia, but more importantly to stop them from creating their public movement that could seriously jeopardize Mr. Ivanishvili’s unlawful control over the state institutions.
The International Chamber of Commerce that I have the honor to chair in Georgia since twelve years, is the largest and oldest business organization in the world and is active in 130 countries; among the core values of our organization are rule of law, and business transparency.
ICC runs one of the leading international courts of arbitration in the world, and is very actively involved in fighting corruption, piracy, counterfeiting, money laundering and other commercial crimes through our special offices in London that work closely with Interpol and other international law enforcement agencies.
We have seen numerous times over the past few years the Prosecutor Office and the Georgian Courts serve Bidzina Ivanishvili’s interests by harassing, pressuring or defrauding local and international companies; we had systematically brought this subject to the media in a timely manner, and have named scores of companies that were victims of such schemes.
We have seen as well many businesspeople and politicians being harassed, bankrupted, literally kidnapped by Mr. Ivanishvili’s thugs, while some others were thrown in jail by the Courts on orders from the Prosecutor, after a travesty of justice, for just impinging somehow on Bidzina Ivanishvili’s business or political interests.
In a desperate attempt to save face, the Prosecutor Office is trying now to legitimize its unlawful actions against the TBC founders, by using the “findings” of two hired international “consultants”, whom we believe would give a different opinion would they have been hired instead by the defendants.
Georgia is an amazing country with great potential; it hurts a lot to see it sliding backward so quickly, losing its leading position in the region and globally as a role model of good governance and economic development.
All that we can hope is for this current mafia style of governance to be terminated by some kind of miracle, and for the rule of law to prevail so the country can move forward again in the right direction.
Chairman, Channel Georgia Consulting
The Georgian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most vocal global Business Association, it includes over 350 corporate and youth members and 27 business associations.
The Chamber was officially established in 2002 as the Georgian chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce. Since taking office in early 2008, ICC Georgia's selected board of directors has been extremely active and dedicated to improving the business and investment climate in the country.
Today ICC Georgia unites leading companies and business associations within Georgia. A dynamic and energetic business organization in the country represents a wide array of business sectors and partner organizations.
ICC-Georgia has had the opportunity to engage many of the policy makers in a dialogue including the president of Georgia, speaker of parliament, prime minister and cabinet of ministers, opposition leaders, members of diplomatic missions and international financial institutions.