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Courts duped by forgery, says expert

By Sopo Datishvili
Wednesday, September 24
The legacy of famous businessman and billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili, is still matter of dispute between his family and his relative Joseph Kay. On September 22, the Patarkatsishvili family announced that the documents upon which Joseph Kay bases his claims to administer Patarkatsishvili’s property are forgeries.

In May, Kay appealed to the Georgian courts to grant him provisional power over some of the assets of Patarkatsishvili. The documents which Kay presented to the court have subsequently been examined by Gus R. Lesnevich, one of the foremost forensic document examiners in the United States and a former senior examiner of documents for the US Secret Service. Lesnevich studied three legal papers, two which gave Joseph Kay the authority to act as the executor of Patarkatsishvili’s estate, and the so-called “power of attorney” document which emerged after the tycoon’s death. After the comparing of signatures on these three documents with those on another 82, Lesnevich has declared that they are forgeries. “The signature on the Letter of Wishes is a “freehand simulation” of Badri’s actual signature, meaning that the forger studied Badri’s genuine signature and then attempted to copy it”, he said.

Patarkatsishvili’s widow, Ina Gudavadze, has publicised Lesnevich’s conclusions as part of a wider attempt to demonstrate that the documents upon which Kay relies are forgeries. “This man should have nothing to do with Badri’s businesses and justice requires that the court now quickly revokes the powers he obtained with these forged documents”, she says. Gudavadze is sure that Lesnevich’s analysis will clearly show the court that the documents don’t have any legal force.

“The evidence that Kay’s claims to have been given power over Badri’s legacy are a sham is overwhelming. We cannot believe that the Georgian court can accept Kay’s deception any longer and we look forward to the speedy enforcement of justice,” she adds.

The widow of Patarkatsishvili thinks it is suspicious that the lawyers of Joseph Kay presented only incomplete photocopies of the legal papers to the court, and in spite of the family’s demand will not show them the original documents. Keti Kvartskhava, Kay’s advocate, says that they were presented in a manner consistent with legislation and agreed by a notary. She has told The Messenger that Kay’s legal team will also subject the documents to expert analysis.

Gia Khukhashvili, an economic analyst, says that the forgery was evident even before the forensic report was released. “I want to highlight the competence of Mr. Lesnevich. He has huge experience in such cases and I absolutely trust him”. Khukashvili told The Messenger. He thinks it is possible that the Government, as well as Kay himself, is a victim of this forgery, and that now it is time for the court to act on this.

Badri Patarkatsishvili, the richest tycoon in Georgia, established his business empire in Russia. In 2001, he returned to his home country as Russia was pressing charge against him. His wealth was estimated at USD 12 billion. Until 2007, he was the President of Georgian Olympic Committee.

One of Patarkatsishvili’s businesses was the media holding Imedi, which he established. This was thought to have had an anti-Government bias. After the November 2007 street demonstrations against the authorities the channel was brutally raided and shut down. Patarkatsishvili subsequently declared himself a candidate in the January 2008 Presidential election but later withdrew from the contest.