Rustavi 2 shareholder demands Prosecutor’s Office launch investigation against director

A Rustavi 2 shareholder says that the company leadership has plans to bankrupt the channel before the European Court of Human Rights releases its verdict on the ownership dispute. Photo: Rustavi 2., 16 Jul 2019 - 16:18, Tbilisi,Georgia

Nino Nizharadze, a nine per cent shareholder of the opposition-minded Rustavi 2 channel, has addressed the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office to launch an investigation against the channel director, former Minister of Justice Nika Gvaramia.

Nizharadze’s lawyer says that Gvaramia has abused his power and has made a decision which might bankrupt the channel.

The decision concerns the deal of Rustavi 2 and an advertising agency Intermedia on a fixed payment [and not based on released materials], which financially affected the channel," Nizharadze’s lawyer said.

Nizharadze suspects that Gvaramia and the channel leadership have plans to bankrupt Rustavi 2 and accumulate money in the advertising agency run by “Gvaramia’s ally Mikheil Mshvildadze.”

The European Court of Human Rights will deliver its verdict on Rustavi 2 ownership dispute on July 18. Photo: CoE.

Rustavi 2 responds that “Nizharadze plays the government’s game, who wish to see the channel closed.”

The play is very obvious several days before the European Court of Human Rights releases its verdict on Rustavi 2 ownership dispute [on July 18],” Rustavi 2 lawyer Tamta Muradashvili said.

Nizharadze filed a lawsuit against Gvaramia back in May, demanding 28 million GEL (about $10.3m/€9.2m).

The ownership of Rustavi 2 has a very controversial history

  • Established in 1994, the broadcasting company changed ownership numerous times between 2004 and 2012.
  • In March 2017 Georgia’s Supreme Court delivered a verdict in favor of Its former shareholder [2004-2006) Kibar Khalvashi, who had filed a lawsuit in 2015.
  • A few days later the European Court of Human Rights suspended the enforcement of the Georgian Supreme Court’s verdict.
  • Currently, Rustavi 2 is owned by LTD TV Sakartvelo (51%) and businessmen brothers Levan (22%) and Giorgi (18%) Karamanishvili.
  • For its part the brothers own 25-25 per cent of LTD Sakartvelo. The remaining 50 per cent of the LTD is owned by a son of the United National Movement Executive Secretary Koba Nakopia, Nikoloz Nakopia.
  • The remaining nine per cent of the channel belongs to Nizharadze, who inherited the shares from her husband.