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Businessmen unite for justice

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, October 31
The Georgian Business Organization launched a new project called Return, aimed at returning the illegally deprived property of the businessmen.

The head of organization and the founder of Caucasus Online, Mamia Sanadiradze, encouraged the affected businessmen to unite.

At a press conference on October 30, Sanadiradze emphasized the difficulty of returning the lost property even through the proper legal procedures. “This is why we, the businessmen affected by such activities, decided to gather and protect our joint interests together,” he said.

Sanadiradze said those people who were in an alliance with the former government and used to oppress the business sector like Giorgi Ramishvili (new owner of the Caucasus Online) now try to find something in common with the new government.

By failing to resist the pressure from the authorities, Mamia Sanadiradze was made to quit a profitable business; he sold Caucasus Online and left Georgia in 2010.

“When you buy a business from 700 different poor and offended people, you are not a good person,” he said. He said the violators of the right of property should be punished, because otherwise Georgia will never become a civilized country based on fundamental human rights.

He said this project will now unite the business sector to elaborate a joint strategy and find legal ways how to return the property to its legal owners.

Lawyer Zviad Gelashvili called it a “systemic crime” when the businessmen were brought to such conditions, and when they had no other way but to agree on the one-sided bargains and concede their property.

“We will still unite, analyze and generalize these cases, because very often the mechanism of deprivation and oppression was the same,” he said, stressing that identification of such cases would help prevent similar violations in the future.

After the creation of the special database, the particular cases of business deprivation would be further sent to the relevant legislative and executive bodies.

At next week’s meeting with the business sector, the association would define the more specific action plan for protecting the rights of the businessmen. In order to improve the business environment in the country, the association also plans to work out legislative initiatives and statements to better exercise their rights.

According to Sanadiradze, the project Return has already attracted the attention of not only local businessmen, but also those operating out of the country. The Georgian businessmen living throughout the world can share their information about the deprived business or property to the organization’s official e-mail address or ask questions.

Sanadiradze said the anonymity of the authors’ will be fully ensured.