Former Maestro founder relieved of AKA Mercedes shares
By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, March 7Maka Asatiani, one of the founders of Maestro TV, has been denied her 20% share in AKA Ltd (Mercedes-Benz’ representative in Georgia) by the Georgian Supreme Court. At a press conference held Tuesday, lawyer Dimitri Gabunia connected the decision to strip her of her shares with Asatiani’s involvement with Maestro.
Asatiani, also a shareholder at the television network, actively finances the independent television network.
Gabunia suspects that Maestro’s critical focus on the government has irritated “some people” who have since attempted to silence the channel through financial means. He noted that Asatiani will continue to sponsor Maestro TV despite this setback.
Promising to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Gabunia spoke of the Georgian court’s “illegal” decision to give Asatiani’s shares to her former partner, David Dzotsenidze.
Dzotsenidze, who was released from his position as Director of AKA in 1996, also had his shares removed from his portfolio at that time. He was fired for misappropriating a large amount of company money, but his partners settled out of court.
Dzotsenidze has been trying to restore his shares at AKA ever since. But Gabunia has asked the court to renew a case against him for illegal appropriation of funds, in light of the decision against Asatiani.
“I am sure that Maka is being punished for Maestro TV,” Mamuka Glonti, co-founder of the network, told The Messenger. He suspects that “this process will continue”.
Confident that Asatiani would win in Strasbourg, he said she was stripped of her shares illegally, and called the case “thread-shaped”.
The situation within AKA may cause problems between Georgia and Mercedes-Benz. There is suspicion that some German investors may abstain from investing in Georgia in next year.
Gabunia believes that the financial police may investigate AKA. He has asked the diplomatic corps and the Public Defender to comment on the violation of Asatiani’s rights, based on what he calls her former partner’s “illegal complaint”.