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Founder of TBC: Gov’t invested zero money in Anaklia Port Project

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 12
One of the founders of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze says that the government has invested zero money in the Anaklia deep-sea port project, a 2.5 billion USD project, which should be implemented by TBC Holding, the US Conti International and two other investors with the Georgian Government's support.

Khazaradze said that the government has no obligation to invest in the project, but it is obliged to provide the infrastructure to help the constructions in the port.

However, as he said, the Ministry of Infrastructure failed to meet the obligation.

The opposition claimed and it was also mentioned by Khazaradze that the state might no longer be interested in the construction of the internally important port.

The opposition members claim that Russia dislikes the project which will make Georgia more attractive and needed by foreign states and organisations and that founder of the Georgian Dream party, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili “was tasked” to “undermine it.”

The opposition believes that the investigation regarding possible money laundering involving TBC founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaeridze aims to derail the project.

Khazaradze has stated many times that the “ungrounded” investigation has already created problems for attracting money for the project, as “no one is eager to deal with people mentioned in a money laundering case.”

Georgian Infrastructure Minister Maia Tskhitishvili says that Anaklia Consortium faced problems to attract funds for the project before the investigation was launched.

“Problems in the implementation of the project started in 2017. The consortium must have attracted 600 million USD in investments until the end of 2017. However, as it failed to do so, the process was postponed until December 31, 2018. In 2018 the obligation was once again postponed for six months,” Tskitishvili said.

She stated that it was announced from the very beginning that the government did not intend to invest in the project and wanted a private company to build it.

“The governmental obligation in the project was to provide railway and transport infrastructure to the port and to also purchase lands costing around 60 million GEL. The lands have been handed to the consortium and the obligations have been fulfilled,” Tskitishvili said.

The port should be finished in 2020.