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TBC Bank founder Khazaradze creates public movement as ‘gov’t fails’ to ease tension

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 10
Founder of Georgia’s leading TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze says that he will create a public movement in September, uniting professionals from different fields to unite the country and make it economically stable.

Khazaradze, who was forced to quit the board of the bank he founded in February, says that the Georgian government and political parties fail to ease tensions in the country and respond to the challenges Georgia faces.

He says that the movement will gather individuals with progressive and pro-western attitudes and values.

Khazaradze did not hide his respect to the youth who have been protesting against the occupation since June 20, after a Russian MP addressed the delegates from 25 countries from the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker, at the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy.

The ruling Georgian Dream MP Sophio Kiladze says that the public movement will be a precondition for creating a political party.

“However, I do not think Khazaradze to have high support,” said Kiladze.

Members of the European Georgia opposition Sergi Kapanadze and Giga Bokeria say that they welcome the creation of a movement which will carry pro-western values.

“I think that the European Georgia and the Free Democrats can change the government in the current situation. However, we welcome such a movement anyway,” Bokeria said.

Fady Asly, head of the International Chamber of Commerce, wrote that he has already contacted Khazaradze and expressed support as Georgia “needs an alternative.”

Former Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli says that Khazaradze had two choices –go home and be quiet or take action.

“He has chosen what was logical,” Khidasheli said.

Khazaradze announced his resignation from the TBC Bank’s board amid a row related to a possible money laundering case back in 2008, to which the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office showed an interest in the summer of 2018.

Khazaradze said “no violation took place,” and called the investigation absurd which affected the bank’s international shareholders with $200 million in several days and negatively influenced the state economy.

He said that it was a “deliberate campaign” against him, by some top state officials, allegedly linked to his role in the 2.5 billion strategically important Anaklia deep-sea-port.

The Anaklia Development Consortium is scheduled to invest $2.5 billion in the Anaklia Deep Sea Port project, which is due to be completed for 2021, disliked by Russia.

The Consortium was jointly established by Georgian TBC Holding and US firm Conti International.

The Anaklia Port's mission is to create a new, faster maritime corridor between China and Europe, helping restore the historic Silk Road. Experts say that the port will strengthen NATO's interest in the Black Sea.