TBC founders leave top managerial posts in Anaklia Development Consortium

The court is now discussing pre-trial measure for TBC founders. Photo: Radio Liberty/Free Europe.

Agenda.ge, 26 Jul 2019 - 17:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

TBC Bank founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze have stated that they will leave top managerial posts in the Anaklia Development Consortium to “protect the Anaklia Port project and end speculations.”

Khazaradze chairs the managing council of the consortium, which is tasked to attract funds for the $2.5 billion port construction, while Japaridze is his deputy.

Earlier this week Khazaradze and Japaridze have been charged with laundering $16.7 million back in 2008, an accusation they say is “absurd.” 

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office has demanded one million GEL bail from each as a restraining measure before the trial takes place.

Anaklia Port is vitally important for the state. It will be the turning point for the Georgian economy. The port will finally make Georgia a gateway between Europe and Asia. Our negotiations with top investors were nearly completed two days ago when the absurdity started again. On the one hand the government says that they support the project and on the other hand they fight the construction,” Khazaradze said.

He stated after the Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against them on July 24 that Georgian companies represented on the London Stock Exchange suffered nearly one billion GEL in damage.

Anaklia Deep Sea Port is sheduled to open by 2020. Image by Anaklia Development Consortium.

We are standing aside from all the projects in which we played key roles [TBC Bank and  Anaklia Consortium] to end speculations that we use the projects to escape justice,” Japaridze said

The Prosecutor’s Office says that the bail demanded is reasonable taking the incomes of Japaridze and Khazaradze into account.

Khazaradze’s lawyer says that the demand on the bail is groundless as Khazaradze and Japaridze, who have known about the investigation since winter 2019, have left Georgia several times since then and never tried to hide.

He says that the charge is “absurd” as borrowing money has nothing to do with money laundering.

Georgian top officials have stated that the government is doing its utmost for the implementation of the Anaklia Port project, adding that “groundless speculations and linking the project with the investigation,” harms it.

Anaklia Port is a $2.5 billion project which is designed to connect Europe and Asia with an alternative, shorter route by 2020.

Anaklia Development Consortium is the company which won the state tender back in 2016 to attract funds for the construction.