The messenger logo

PM Bakhtadze Condemns Connecting TBC Case with Anaklia Project

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 11
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that the accusations by the opposition and founder of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze that the Georgian Dream government may be interested in the Anaklia deep sea port construction are the “cheapest political speculations” he has heard recently.

With the statement, Bakhtadze responded to turmoil regarding the ongoing money-laundering investigation involving two founders of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri

Japaridze, and linking the case with the 2.5 billion USD, strategically important Anaklia port project, which should be implemented by Anaklia Consortium with TBC Holding as the major player.

The opposition says that Russia is much irritated with the construction of the port, which will make Georgia more attractive for NATO, and founder of the Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili is using his levers to create obstacles for its implementation.

Bakhtadze claims that the project has huge importance and he himself as the head of the Georgian railway, then as the minister of finance and the prime minister provided all his efforts for the project.

He said there are some people who are trying to link the project with the money laundering investigation involving TBC Bank.

“The project is of the strategic importance for us, and moreover, it is the part of our strategy and the vision to turn Georgia as the regional hub, in terms of transport and logistics among them. The government has done its utmost the project to become a priority for the world leading institutions,” Bakhtadze said.

He stated that it is very important that the European Union brought the project in a priority list of the trans-European transport network.

“After all these how one can dare and say that the government is not interested in the construction of the port? It is one of the cheapest speculations I have heard recently,” Bakhtadze said.

Bakhtadze stated that different political forces are trying to make the TBC case political, which is a “very irresponsible action.”

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a transaction which took place in 2007-2008 by TBC and which might have been money laundering.

Khazaradze, who had to leave the bank due to the investigation, says that the transaction was conducted legally, and the “absurd” investigation has already affected the Anaklia project development, TBC Bank and the country’s investment image.