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TBC founders unable to leave Georgia without consent, Court of Appeals upholds ruling

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, August 2
The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of Tbilisi City Court and ruled on Wednesday that TBC founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze must not leave Georgia without the permission of law enforcement agencies.

The 700,000 GEL bail for each has also been left intact.

Khazaradze and Japaridze say that the restriction on the movement will create “serious problems” for their business in the Anaklia Development Consortium, a company which is due to attract funds for Georgia’s Anaklia Deep Sea Port, a 2.5 billion USD project.

Japaridze and Khazaradze are two of four members of the managing council of the consortium, represent the TBC holding there.

They say that the money laundering they were charged with on July 24 is an “invented charge,” as no violation took place in 2008.

They openly accused the government of creating obstacles for the construction of the port, which will connect Europe with Asia with an alternative route and make the country more attractive for NATO.

Russia dislikes the Anaklia Port.

The Georgian Infrastructure Ministry released a statement earlier the same day, saying that the consortium has failed to attract funds for the project so far, which is likely to cause the delay in the construction process.

The ministry said that the most recent schedule by the consortium reads that the port will receive ships in 2022, instead of 2020.

The statement said that the consortium has had an “unprecedented support” in the project and urged the company to meet its financial obligations instead of “making populist statements.”

The ministry says that an agreement with foreign banks on issuing of 400 million USD for the construction of the first phase of the port has not been signed and the consortium has not also presented its own 120 million USD capital.

“The port will be built anyway, with a private or a state investment,” the ministry vowed.

Khazaradze stated that the “absurd investigation” on money laundering hamper the negotiation process with financial institutions.

He said that he and Japaridze would soon leave the top managerial posts in the consortium and “move to the shadow” to avoid the complications of the “vital project” for the state.

Khazaradze and Japaridze were charged with laundering $16.7 million on July 2019, the possible violation which took place in 2007-2008.

They [Khazaradze, Japaridze] say that they have presented all the documentation proving no violation took place

The Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into possible money laundering on 2 August 2018, ‘after the Georgian Financial Monitoring Service sent them a written note about the possible violation.’

Anaklia Deep Sea Port will be the first Georgian container port with deep water, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and equipment.

After two years of discussions, the Georgian government selected the Anaklia Development Consortium in 2016 ahead of six other local and international companies to develop the mixed-cargo port on a build, operate and transfer basis.

“Anaklia Deep Sea Port will be designed throughout 9 phases, with an aggregate investment of $2.5 billion. Anaklia Port’s depth will be 16 meters which enable to place vessels up to 10,000 TEUs capacity,” the Anaklia Consortium states.

The consortium consists of specialized firms with diverse backgrounds, which together form a global business leadership team that will work with the government of Georgia to construct the port.

ADC includes TBC Holding from Georgia, Conti International from the United States, SSA Marine from the United States, British Wondernet Express working in Central Asia, and G-Star Ltd. from Bulgaria.