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NBG demands firing of TBC bank chair from the Bank’s Supervisory Council

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 18
The National Bank of Georgia has demanded the withdrawal of the TBC bank chair Mamuka Chakhatadze and another top banker Badri Japaridze from the supervisory council of the bank due to the money-laundering case being investigated by the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

TBC is the leading public company presented at the London Stock Exchange in the premium segment (FTSE250 list).

NBG also deprived the two of signing the bank documents and stated that the reason behind the decision was the “violation related to the transaction” made by the bank in 2007-2008.

Khazaradze stated that the decision was “part of the campaign to discredit him,” which, supposedly, was related to the bank’s key role in the construction of the internationally important Anaklia Deep Sea Port in western Georgia.

He says that the world leading juridical company Denton had studied the transaction which is being investigated for now and showed no violations.

“It causes doubts that such a fast decision [of NBG] and the campaign which aims to discredit us are taking place when we [TBC] are so close to carrying out the very important project for the country-the Anaklia deep-sea port project,” Khazaradze said.

He vowed the fight “for freedom and dignity.”

Zviad Kordzadze, lawyer of Khazaradze stated that the bank will file a lawsuit against the request of the National Bank.

“That it is unclear why the central bank is demanding suspension of the authorities of Khazaradze and Japaridze due to the transaction, made 11 years ago,” he said.

The Anaklia deep sea port is the $2.5 billion project which kicked off in 2017. The consortium which will invest the money was jointly established by TBC Holding and US firm Conti International. The construction is due to be completed in 2020, making the shortest route between China and European countries.

The Georgian authorities exclude political motives in the case and say that the NBG decision is less likely to affect the bank itself.

The opposition says that the case is “politically motivated” and “someone is interested in the derange of the Anaklia project.”

They have called upon Khazaradze to speak openly about the reasons as only the public support may “save him from the situation.”

However, last week the bank suffered more than £52 million loss at the London Stock exchange.

The Prosecutor's Office of Georgia stated in January 2018 that in April-May 2008, companies Samgori M and Samgori Trade took the $17 million loan from TBC with the purpose of filling the working capital which was issued on the same day to Badri Japaridze and Mamuka Khazaradze, Co-Founder of TBC Bank Group and its Chairman since May 2016.

As the Prosecutor's Office explains neither the Samgori M nor Samgori Trade paid back the loan borrowed from the bank and later these companies had been replaced by the company registered in the offshore. POG says the loan issued by TBC has not been paid back.

The POG says the case contains “signs of money laundering.”

“The case materials were sent to the National Bank as well as to the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia. On August 2, 2018, the Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General's Office launched an investigation into the fact of unlawful legalization of income under the Article 194 paragraph 3 of the Criminal Code of Georgia,” the POG stated.

The NBG stated last Thursday that they revealed the violation of the Interest Conflict Regulatory Law by Khazaradze and Japaridze.