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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 10
Trump Organization Ends Development of Trump Tower in Batumi

The Trump Organization, Donald Trump’s property development company, and the Silk Road Group (SRG), Trump Tower Batumi’s Georgian developer, issued a joint statement on January 6, announcing their decision to formally end the development of Trump Tower Batumi, a 47-storey luxury residential condominium in Black Sea resort town of Batumi, Georgia.

“[The parties] jointly announce their decision to formally end the development of Trump Tower, Batumi…under the license agreement executed in March 2011,” the statement reads.

“The Trump Organization continues to hold SRG and the Republic of Georgia in the highest regard,” the statement also noted.

The statement added that the Silk Road Group, a Georgian conglomerate with business interests in transportation, telecommunications, banking and property development, which acted as the Trump Organization’s local partner in Georgia, “is grateful to the Trump Organization for the time and attention they have dedicated to this project and fully understands the circumstances and accepts this request.

“Going forward, the SRG plans to build a luxury condominium tower along the Georgian Black Sea coast in Batumi and is confident that this spectacular project envisioned by Mr. Trump during his visit to the Republic of Georgia in 2012, will strengthen Georgia’s bid to become a global destination,” the statement concludes.

The SRG was to use “Trump” name and mark under a license agreement concluded with the Trump Organization in March, 2011 in New York during a ceremony attended by then-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

President Saakashvili and American property tycoon Donald Trump unveiled the Trump Tower project in Georgia’s Black Sea resort Batumi on April 22, 2012.

Saakashvili first met with Trump to discuss investment opportunities in Georgia in April, 2010. Saakashvili met with Trump again in New York in September, 2010. It was reported at the time that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Trump Organization and Silk Road Group.

Initially, two Trump-branded towers were planned to be built in Georgia (the other to be constructed in Tbilisi), but eventually, the companies moved forward with Batumi project only.

Ivanishvili-linked GDS TV to shut down political programs

A pro-government TV channel in Georgia is suspending its political programs in the wake of a merger of the country’s three major mainstream TV companies, a local online news website reports.

GDS is closing down its ‘2030’ program, which makes strong pro-government reporting, writes, relying on ‘two independent sources’. The channel GDS is owned by Bera Ivanishvili, the rapper son of Georgia’s former PM, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Other news programs will be gradually eliminated from the programming in January and GDS will become a pure entertainment channel.

The background is a recent deal to merge GDS with the larger Imedi and Masetro. The deal will see Imedi, the second-largest largest TV company in Georgia, acquiring the smaller GDS and Maestro. Imedi is owned by Ina Gudavadze, the widow of the late billionaire Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili.

Imedi recently said it would make GDS into a pure entertainment channel, while Maestro TV’s management reassured its staff that it would not scale down its news reporting.
(DF watch)

4 people arrested for illegally crossing border

Border police officers have arrested one citizen of the Republic of Ghana and 3 citizens of the Republic of Nigeria for illegally crossing the state border of Georgia.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the detainees were illegally trying to move to Turkey from Georgia.

An investigation has been launched into the case.