Casino Ajara Is Arrested
14 March, 2013
Casino Ajara Is Arrested
Casino Ajara, one of the most prestigious casinos of Georgia located in Tbilisi is arrested based on legal claim raised by its alleged stakeholder at court. The entangled case suggests a well-proved stake-seizure scenario practiced by ex-power against oppositional businessmen and trails down to former top political figures in defense and interior ministries who are accused of applying political pressure on the plaintiff . Iva Chighvinadze, former political prisoner who left prison few months ago, claims he owned stakes at
Casino Ajara that were divested latently under the pressure of former high-rank political figures of Davit Kezerashvili, ex-Minister of Defense, and Erekle Kodua, former top official of interior ministry. Chighvinadze insists he invested several millions in Casino Ajara; however, as soon as he joined the oppositional political party - Democratic Movement-United Georgia in 2009, he fell under political pressure of the ruling party - National Movement and Temur Ugulava, owner of Casino Ajara building, dissolved a contract with Chighvinadze immediately. The invested money was transferred to an uncertain account to TBC Bank that Chighvinadze was unable to use. During protest actions staged by Democratic Movement-United Georgia on May 26, 2011, Chighvinadze was detained and only after his release this year, he filed a lawsuit against the new owner of Casino Ajara and claimed his money back. Based on Chighvinadze’s claim, the court arrested the property of Casino Ajara to prevent the owners of the property to divest it until the litigation process is over and the court draws out a verdict. As Giorgi Janiashvili, a lawyer of Chighvinadze said in the scanty interview with Georgian Journal, Chighvinadze has all legal papers proving Ajara Casino’s liabilities however Janiashvili did not specify how much exactly is the debt and how big stake Chighvinadze owned at the Casino. As Chighvinadze is reported saying by Kviris Palitra, Ugulava explained that he under pressure of Kezerashvili and Kodua handed over Chighvinadze’s share to businessman Davit Iakobashvili who appears the official owner of Casino Ajara at the moment based on the information of the public registry. Neither Chighvinadze, nor Ugulava and Iakobashvili were available to timely comment to GJ. They are supposed to have negotiations latently. The press-conference scheduled on March 12, 2013 on purpose to provide media with full details of the Casino case was canceled and none of the involved sides turned out connected on-phone. According to Kviri Palitra, as soon as Chighvinadze filed a lawsuit representatives of Iakobashvili and Kezerashvili contacted him and asked to negotiate the problem so as to save the image. They started accusing each other in the misdeed and laid the fault on Ugulava who allegedly was responsible for the loss inflicted on Chighvinadze. Officially, both Ugulava and Iakobashvili refuse that Chighvinadze has ever had a stake at Casino Ajara. Ugulava refutes even any kind of political pressure on him compelling to divest shares. Iakobashvili assures there was no debt when he bought Ajara and disclaims any responsibilities to pay any old hidden arrear.
Janiashvili asserts that Iakobashvili, as a new owner of Casino Ajara has to pay debt to Chighvinadze since Iakobashvili is a legal assignee of Ugulava’s property where Chighvinadze invested money.
“When Iakobashvili bought Ajara, he bought both assets and passives of the property and is responsible to clear the debt,” Janiashvili told GJ. The civil court, scheduled on March 21 will settle the dispute.
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