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The News in Brief

Friday, November 10
Ivanishvili-backed Co-Investment Fund to take over Batumi Trump Tower

The Georgian Co-Investment Fund, backed by former Georgian Prime Minister, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, will be involved in building a luxury condominium in Georgia’s port city of Batumi. The Silk Tower will replace Batumi’s previously planned Trump Tower.

During a visit in 2012, before becoming US President, Donald Trump said he would put his name to a local holding company, the Silk Road Group, which planned to build a skyscraper in Batumi.

Construction was supposed to begin in 2013, but never started. In January 2017, after Trump’s election as president, the Trump Organization announced that they were pulling out of the project. According to Reuters, this was done to avoid a conflict of interest.

Head of the Silk Road Group, Giorgi Ramishvili, said at a press conference on 7 November ‘after Mr Trump became president, the reality changed. We halted the agreement in a joint decision, but neither I personally, nor my team, ever stopped thinking about this project’.

According to Ramishvili, the project will mark ‘a new stage of Batumi’s development’.

‘We hope that the project will contribute to attracting investments and developing high-income tourism’, he added.

The cost of construction, due to start in 2019, will be approximately $250 million US, according to Ramishvili, covering both the Silk Tower and an adjacent yacht club. An additional residential building, a high-class hotel, casino, entertainment centre, multifunctional hall, and a congress center, are also planned to be built as part of the project.

The Co-Investment Fund

Ramishvili says the project has financial backing from the Georgian Co-Investment Fund.

The Co-Investment Fund was presented in 2013 by then–Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who committed $1 billion of his own money. The fund and its subsidiaries have been controversial for their backing of the controversial Panorama Tbilisi development.

In 2016, the Co-Investment Fund said ‘the number of projects required the existence of a separate target fund’ and presented Georgia’s Tourism Development Fund, owned by Panama-based Frankston International S A. The Tourism Development Fund owns both Tabori Resorts Ltd and Tbilisi City Ltd, which was recently awarded state-owned land in Tbilisi for ?1 ($0.40).

Giorgi Bachiashvili, a shareholder and chair of the Co-Investment Fund, thanked the Silk Road Group for ‘offering partnership’ and said he hopes Batumi will have many more ‘interesting and attractive projects’.

In 2013, Netgazeti reported that backers of the Co-Investment Fund besides Ivanishvili included the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan, RAK Investment Authority, Batumi Industrial Holding Limited, Calik Holding A.S, Milestone International Holdings Group Limited. However, a complete list of investors or the size of their investments has never been disclosed, and a number of funds connected to the GCF are registered in secretive offshore tax-havens.

According to an investigation by the New Yorker, Silk Road Group was funded by BTA Bank as part of ‘a giant money-laundering scandal’.

Forbes reported in August 2017 that the ‘fake Trump Tower’ would use a design approved by Trump. (

EU and NATO should embrace those countries whose citizens protect global stability and security - Giorgi Margvelashvili

As part of his official visit to Poland, the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili has taken part in Warsaw Security Forum as a special guest. President Margvelashvili has spoken about Georgia-Russian relations, Georgia’s integration into the EU and NATO, and the country’s role in implementing regional economic projects, - says the information posted on the website of the Presidential Administration.

As he has pointed out, Georgia, as the Eastern European country, participates in building a more secure Europe together with Central European countries. Georgia contributes to ensuring European and world stability; the EU and NATO should embrace those countries whose citizens protect global stability and security.

President Margvelashvili has also discussed Russia's annexation policy and noted that Russian military aggression that took place in one of the regions of Georgia in the 90’s was not adequately assessed. The largest nuclear state also invaded Georgia in 2008. While in 2014, Ukraine's incident took place. According to the President, rational assessment of the 90’s and 2008 precedents could have possibly prevented the Ukraine’s case from happening. Russia's actions are violation of the principles of international law and they should receive clear, blunt, and rational assessments. President Margvelashvili has called on the international community to make strong and rational statements against the Russian policy.

According to the President’s assessment, Russia's annexation policy aimed at deterring Georgia's integration into the EU and NATO; however, despite this attempt, Georgia has further activated this process since 2008 and achieved significant results.

President Margvelashvili has also spoken about the opportunities of Georgia that are enabled through Eastern Partnership cooperation, Association Agreement with the EU, and NATO integration. He has once again emphasized the role Poland, as one of the most dynamically developing countries, in advocating Georgia's interests on Eastern Partnership and NATO summits.

He has discussed regional projects and regional cooperation and stressed Georgia's geopolitical role. According to the President, without stability and security of Georgia, neither regional security nor transcontinental projects on which European economy and Asian markets depend could be successful. Georgia’s standing determines regional security.

The Forum has also been attended by Head of Administration of the President Giorgi Abashishvili, Secretary of National Security Council Davit Rakviashvili, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vakhtang Makharoblishvili, Advisor to the President for Foreign Affairs Tengiz Pkhaladze, Parliamentary Secretary of the President Ana Dolidze, Political Secretary of the President Pikria Chikhradze, Advisor to the President in Human Rights and Justice Issues Kakha Kozhoridze, and Ambassador of Georgia to Poland Ilia Darchiashvili. (IPN)

Georgian Defense Minister Visits Brussels

Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria participated in the meeting of defense ministers of the countries involved in the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan on the sideline of NATO Defense Ministerial on November 8-9.

Defense Minister Levan Izoria said in his remarks after the meeting that the discussions were “very productive.” “We remain committed to our international obligations and will contribute to the mission with the same number,” he noted, adding that a total of 870 soldiers would continue serving alongside NATO Allies and partners to “ensure global security and stability.”

Minister Izoria also said that Georgia’s contribution and participation in the Resolute Support Mission was “highlighted” at the meeting. “Special gratitude was expressed to the soldiers and the people of Georgia for their contribution to ensuring global security.”

Speaking after the meeting, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO would increase the troop numbers for the Resolute Support Mission from around 13,000 to around 16,000 troops, and that 27 nations committed to contribute troops in the coming months. “I strongly welcome the strengthened commitment and support demonstrated by Allies and partners,” said Stoltenberg.

Levan Izoria is to travel to the United States next, where he will hold meetings with Defense Secretary James Mattis, and other stakeholders in Washington D.C. (