Shareholder files lawsuit against Rustavi 2

  • Established in 1994, the broadcasting company changed ownership numerous times. Photo: Rustavi 2, 7 May 2019 - 22:55, Tbilisi,Georgia

Nino Nizharadze, who inherited nine percent of shares of Rustavi 2 – one of the largest private companies in Georgia - from her husband Gogi Gegeshidze, is demanding 28 million GEL (about $10.3m/€9.2m).

Her lawyer Giorgi Kavlashvili explained that Nizharadze’s lawsuit is directed against the channel’s director Nika Gvaramia and the larger shareholders. The plaintiff is demanding compensation for damages she and Rustavi 2 suffered because of mismanagement.

Nino Nizharadze had a client who was buying her shares for about 1.5 million GEL (about $588.2m/€524.6m) and if the larger shareholders would not give their consent, other partners of Rustavi 2 were offered to buy the shares”, the lawyer said.

Kavlashvili also stated that neither Nizharadze was allowed to sell the shares, nor were other shareholders willing to buy them. Now, she is demanding 1.6 million GEL for personal damage and the rest for the TV company.

Position of Rustavi 2

Director of Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia believes this is the ruling party’s “new phase of attack” against the TV company and that the real reason of the lawsuit is to change the channel’s “editorial policy” and to abolish “the main oppositional channel”.

During his news briefing last night, Gvaramia offered Nizharadze to dismiss the lawsuit from the Georgian court and to file it in any international arbitration.

Let us argue in the court in which the both sides trust. We, Rustavi 2, do not trust the Georgian court”, he said urging that the TV company “will win this battle”.

The company's lawyer Tamta Muradashvili also stated that this lawsuit is “absurd” and politically motivated.

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.
  • Few days later the European Court of Human Rights suspended the enforcement of the Georgian Supreme Court’s verdict.
  • Currently 91% of the TV company’s shares is owned by brothers Giorgi and Levan Karamanishvili.