The Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that the Omega Group Corporation, which has accused the government of lobbying separate businesses and corruption, is trying to mislead people and avoid paying millions of debt to the state and the Bank of Georgia.
PM Says Omega Group Tries to Avoid Millions of Debt
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, October 4
Bakhtadze stated that the corporation is also trying to persuade the people as if the Iberia TV, which is on the verge of closure, is the “victim of the government pressure.”
“Media is free in Georgia, so is Business. The Iberia TV has a problem as the Omega Group, which owns the TV, has financial problems. It is nonsense as if the government has any interest to the media channel,” Bakhtadze said.
Bakhtadze stated that the Omega Group, which owes 51 million debt to the state budget and 84 million GEL debt to the Bank of Georgia, must meet its financial obligations. He says that all other questions regarding alleged corruption or dumping on the cigarette market, are the subject of investigation, which is in progress.
The opposition Presidential Candidate Grigol Vashadze says that the developments around the Omega Group and the Iberia TV “pose serious threats to the Georgian statehood.”
He said that the only change of the government can only change the situation to positive in the country.
Omega and its founder Zaza Okuashvili says that under the Georgian Dream leadership its cigarette company OGT suffered $100 million in losses after multinational company British American Tobacco violated the laws on competition and tobacco control with the help of the Georgian Dream government members.
The corporation says that they had to take loans from banks to cover their necessary expenses to the staff and the state budget but they failed to do so.
Omega Group says that they appealed to the government in 2017 to have their debt restructured, but in vain. However, Bakhtadze said that they supported the corporation 11 times through the suspension of forcible enforcement and restructuring of the loan.
Okuashvili, who had to leave Georgia under the previous United National Movement leadership and managed to restore his business activities in the country under the Georgian Dream government after 2012, also says that the founder of the Georgian Dream party, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili demanded four million GEL from him “to help him” return back the 25 million GEL he [Okuashvili] suffered under the United National Movement leadership.