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TBC Bank founders quit posts in board after charges of money laundering

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, July 26
The chairman and the deputy chairman of the Supervisory Board of TBC Bank, Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze quit their posts amid the official charges of legalizing illegal money, raised against them by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) two days ago.

The information was released by Khazaradze who wrote in his Facebook post that he and Japaridze quit positions in the bank until “this absurd process is over.”

Khazaradze called the developments against them “a deliberate action against international investors and financial stability of the country,” adding after the statement of the POG regarding the charges, TBC Bank’s shares have fallen by 12% during the day, as the result of it, the shareholders of the bank have suffered $130 million loss.

Khazaradze also expressed hope that the truth will be proven and TBC bank, which has been established by him 27 years ago, will continue to implement its strategic goals.

Badri Japaridze also commented on the recent developments. According to him, “this persecution has been going on for a year already.”

“Unfortunately, this is a continuation of personal persecution against Mamuka and me. This is tremendous damage to the country and the projects we are involved in. We will do our best to ensure that no project is hindered,” he added.

After the two men quit their posts, TBC Bank Group released a statement, reporting that Chief independent director Nikoloz Enukidze has been appointed as a new chairman of the Supervisory Board.

“The Supervisory Board has immediately appointed chief independent director Nikoloz Enukidze as a new chairman of TBC Bank Group Supervisory Board. He has been selected because of his deep knowledge of bank matters and the bulk international experience,” the statement reads.

The company added that TBC Bank Group is confident Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze are innocent.

“Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze will try to join the Board of Trustees of TBC Bank Group after the accusations against them are refuted. The Board of Trustees of TBC Bank is confident Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze are innocent and look forward to refuting all disputes against them, including the accusation about the money laundering,” the statement says.

The POG stated on July 24 that they decided to charge Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze for the legalization of $16,754,000, as a result of which, they received a large amount of income. The investigation into the case was launched on August 2, 2018.

To note, earlier in July, Khazaradze announced about creating a political movement in September in order to unite a “healthy, progressive and pro-western society” and create a political force named Civil Movement.

Some opposition parties and analysts believe that the official charges against him are politically motivated. Also, Khazaradze and Japaridze, and some politicians connect the developments to Anaklia Deeps Sea Port project, led by TBC Group, which is of strategic importance for the country.

The United States embassy in Tbilisi released a statement regarding the case, expressing concern about the context and timing of the charges the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office has filed against TBC Bank co-founders.

“An impartial and transparent legal system that is free of political influence is vital for Georgia’s Western integration and its ability to attract foreign investment. We continue to support the Anaklia Port project, a significant source of US investment in Georgia that has the potential to advance the country’s economic growth,” the statement reads.