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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 9
Maestro Secretary Director offers Maka Asatiani and Kote Gogelia extension of lease agreement

Maestro Secretary Director Levan Gachechiladze offered Maka Asatiani and Kote Gogelia to extend the lease agreement.

As Gachechiladze told reporters, if Maka Asatiani and Kote Gogelia reject his offer, he will start searching for an alternative space.

“As for the building, Maestro remains in its offices, as it is connected to many technical issues. I offered Maka Asatiani and Kote Gogelia to extend the lease agreement. If they reject it, I will start searching for an alternative space,” he said.

According to him, he will appoint two deputies over the following days, as there are many financial and administrative things to be done. (IPN)

Court approves Levan Gachechiladze as new director of Maestro TV

The Public Registry on Monday registered Levan Gachechiladze as the Director of Studio Maestro.

The registry said in a statement that Gachechiladze was appointed Director of Maestro as a result of a decision made by the Appeals Court on March 1. The statement explains that the court’s decision cannot be appealed.

Gachechiladze plans to visit Maestro and talk to the employees, his lawyer Nanuka Chkuaseli told journalists. She explained that the building of the TV company is the property of a company owned by Maka Asatiani, with which Studio Maestro has a lease agreement. Therefore, since Gachechiladze is now the Director of Maesto, he has the right to enter the building.

But the staff at Maestro are adamant that he will not be allowed to enter the building and have reinforced security in the offices. Baia Gadabadze, the former Director of Maestro and a trustee of the owner of the building, says that security was reinforced in order to avoid any sort of escalation. She doesn’t rule out that they may require assistance from the police.

Gabadadze told journalists that the decision is unlawful and the Gachechiladze brothers are a tool in the hands of the government in this dispute. She also said that Gachechiladze won’t be able to work at the Maestro office.

“If he has an alternative office, another building where he will be able to speak with journalists and introduce his proposals, they are ready to meet him and listen to him. Half of the equipment belongs to Maka Asatiani and the other half to the TV company. If Gachechiladze comes and seizes cameras and microphones from the journalists, this is up to him,” Gadabadze said.

Lawyer Giorgi Gvenetadze, who represents Maka Asatiani - the owner of 25 percent of Maestro’s shares - says that Asatiani won’t give up her property unlawfully and unfairly.

“We can host guests, but they cannot be hosts, as this building belongs to us. Levan Gachechiladze should respond to us when he plans to pay up to 54 million in debt that he owes us and how he plans to manage the TV company,” Gvenetadze said.

The ownership dispute between the owners of Maestro started after February 1, as singer Gia Gachechiladze became the owner of a controlling package of shares in Maestro. Afterwards, he appointed his brother Levan Gachechiladze as the new director. The latter is also a politician and was the main opposition candidate in the January 2008 presidential election. (DF watch)

Salve Fund: Georgia-France fund helps vulnerable youth

A new joint fund between Georgia and France has been established to support children from vulnerable families in Georgia.

Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani and President of the Georgia-France Chamber of Commerce and Industry Antoine Bardon officially registered the Salve Fund at Tbilisi Public Service Hall a couple of days ago.

The Fund aimed to:

• Finance projects for children living and working on the streets; and

• Eliminate malnutrition problems in newborn children from vulnerable families.

The first people to donate to the Fund were the former French Ambassador to Georgia Renaud Salins, as well as French, Georgian and American businessmen working in Georgia.

"Together with our French friends, today we opened the Fund which will contribute to the financing of projects aimed at helping children living and working on the streets,” Minister Tsulukiani said.

She added the Fund would allow parents of vulnerable infants visit Public Service Halls with their birth certificates to receive special support packages.

"Along with other basic things the package will include vitamins, which in accordance with UNICEF standards, are necessary to eliminate malnutrition,” Tsulukiani said.

She noted today more than 100,000 children were suffering from malnutrition in Georgia.

"That’s why I decided that one of the purposes of the Fund should be to eliminate food shortages. I would like to thank Georgia’s French friends and especially Mr. Antoine Bardon for his support,” Tsulukiani added.

The idea to establish the Fund was first declared last week at a dinner held by the Georgia-France Chamber of Commerce in Kazbegi, a small mountainous town in north-eastern Georgia. The event, attended by local and foreign businessmen, hosted an auction where 10,000 GEL (about $ 4,000/ˆ 3,700*) was collected as initial capital of the Fund. (