Ex Rustavi 2 Director General to be summoned for questioning

On July 16, Nino Nizharadze addressed the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office to launch an investigation against the former channel director Nika Gvaramia. Photo:reginfo.

Agenda.ge, 01 Aug 2019 - 16:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Prosecutor’s Office plans to question ex-director of opposition minded TV channel Rustavi 2 for alleged abuse of power during his term. 

Official charges have not yet been brought against former director Nika Gvaramia, who will be asked to provide explanations of certain financial transactions which a former shareholder says were meant to bankrupt Rustavi 2. 

The court has issued an order to seize documents and electronic information from Inter Media and Inter Media Plus, which served as Rustavi 2 contractor companies.

A complaint lodged by former nine per cent shareholder Nino Nizharadze alleged that Rustavi 2 and Intermedia signed a deal, by means of which Nika Gvaramia intended to accumulate Rustavi 2’s assets to open a new channel, as he knew that the European Court of Human Rights would effectively allow the return of 100 per cent of shares to Khalvashi.

An ECHR ruling on July 18 effectively allowed the return of 100 per cent of the channel’s shares to its former owner Kibar Khalvashi, who argued that Rustavi 2 was illegally seized from him by the former United National Movement (UNM) government in 2006.

Later, he appointed his lawyer Paata Salia as the channel’s director – Salia in turn has said that Rustavi 2 is facing financial issues.

Nika Gvaramia has objected to the launch of the investigation, saying the Prosecutor’s Office launched the probe ‘into non-existent events.’

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.