On the Verge of International Scandal
17 March, 2011
On the Verge of International Scandal

Israeli Parliamentary Speaker Cancelled the visit of his Georgian Colleague

The press service of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin officially confirmed that the postponement of Georgian Parliamentary Speaker’s planned visit to Israeli is directly linked to the case of Israeli businessman Fuchs and it points to a growing discord on a serious matter between Tbilisi and Jerusalem.
The statement reads that the relatives of the Israeli businessman Rony Fuchs, arrested in the Georgian Black Sea town Batumi, are convinced that the

businessman is innocent and his accusation is illegal.
It turns out the Knesset Speaker talked with his Georgian counterpart on the phone and asked him to postpone his visit to Israel due to internal and external circumstances. Rivlin’s request came in the wake of protests by private citizens and Knesset members who are outraged by the detention of Israeli businessman Rony Fuchs.
Interestingly, several days earlier, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze insisted that the arrest of the Israeli businessman in Georgia would not affect Georgian-Israeli relationships. She believed the incident was not likely to thwart good ties between the two countries. She did acknowledge sensitivity of the fact for Israel.
It appears that alleged violation of rights of its citizens proved to be sensitive for the Israeli Authorities, and did affect the interstate relationships despite the conviction of high-ranking Georgian officials that the case would not and should not hamper diplomatic relations. Factually, Israel treated the problem of its citizen as a matter of paramount importance and undertook serious steps in this regard.
Georgian law enforcers detained Israeli businessmen Rony Fuchs and Zeev Frenkel in Georgia on 14 October, 2010. They were accused of offering a bribe to Avtandil Kharaidze, Georgian Deputy Finance Minister. Archil Kbilashvili, lawyer of arrested Israeli businessmen assumes that the hearing of the case by Tbilisi city court is supposed to finish by the end of March. In the past we did write about our apprehension, warning the administration that the arrest of Israeli businessmen would end by an international scandal.
The story started in 1991 when the Israeli businessmen arrived in Georgia with a multi-million investment. Rony Fuchs met the Georgian Government and SakNavtobi management and requested full management of all existing pipelines in Georgia. Their company Tramex succeeded in getting the desired exclusive rights on all pipelines.
Tengiz Sigua, then a representative of Georgian Government, says that the Tramex deal was clinched despite his warning to every Georgian official structure not to issue any exclusive right to anybody. In 1996, after the entry of BP into Georgia, the Georgian Government terminated the agreement with Tramex. In response, Tramex owners appealed to London arbitrage. The dispute dragged on for years. In February of last year, the London arbitrage finally arrived to the decision, ordering Georgia to pay 97 million of compensation.
According to the investigation papers, on 15 September, 2010 Rony Fuchs and Zeev Frenkel met with Georgian Finance Minister in Istanbul and tried to bribe him with 7 million US dollars. The second meeting took place in Batumi on 14 October, 2010 confirming the initial offer of 7 million dollars. In contrast to the investigation claims, the accused businessmen tell a completely different story. They accuse the Georgian Authorities of pre-arranged provocation and point at Nika Gilauri, Georgian PM, as its mastermind.
Archil Kbilashvili, lawyer of arrested businessmen, used to state several months ago that according to the decision of the international center of dispute resolution, Rony Fuchs and Ioannis Kardassopoulos had won around 100 million payable by Georgia. This was exactly the reason of the negotiations with the Georgian Deputy Finance Minister. In fact, these negotiations were initiated by the Georgian Authorities themselves in an attempt to bargain a better deal with a lesser sum to pay (Namely, they sought something within 50-85 millions instead of the court-imposed 97 million).
Eventually, the two sides reached a 72-million compromise, with a condition that Georgia would not drag out its payment. During the negotiations involving Georgian and British lawyers they devised a text of the settlement. According to lawyer Archil Kbilashvili, Rony Fuchs was officially invited by PM Nika Gilauri to Georgia for further negotiations. Now they incriminate Fuchs in allegedly offering 7 million - out of that 72 million - to Gilauri’s deputy as a bribe. The businessmen insist that they have never proposed a bribe to deputy Kharaidze. Actually, the sum of seven million was considered to be an investment to be made in Georgia as a means to help the Georgian PM explain to the public why the Georgian State was going to pay so much money. So, according to the request of Georgian Authorities they agreed to use these seven million dollars as a PR instrument. Now the accusers claim it was a bribing attempt. It is a simple logic that anyone who wins 97 million will not bargain for any extra money.
Notably, the Georgian PM sent an official letter of invitation with his own signature to Rony Fuchs inviting him as his personal guest. The businessmen trusted the Georgian PM and came to Georgia, only to be arrested here.
According to the statement of General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, the investigation has the evidence that the company paid a bribe to Georgian high-ranking officials in 1990s to get 30-year exclusive rights.
However, Archil Kbilashvili, the lawyer of arrested businessmen, claims that it was not a bribe but return of money paid by Georgia in the form of investment.
The fact is that the international scandal, which we have been anticipating, is a reality now. What could spur it? Is the incidence with a single person enough to throw diplomatic relations of two countries into marshes? As one of the Georgian publications pointed out, Rony Fuchs enjoys close ties with the political elite of Israel and is even counted as a person close to the Israeli President. These things probably are enough to highlight the different angles of the situation.

Other Stories
Tbilisi sign may appear on the Funicular hill
Hollywood has become a source of inspiration for many people worldwide. A similar idea from a Tbilisi citizen sounds very clever and attractive.
Russia was at an undeclared war with Georgia for years - Matthew Bryza
I think anybody who has observed how Russia has been conducting its war in Ukraine should realize that Russia was at war with Georgia, an undeclared war for years,
Tbilisi Park is due to open in Buenos-Aires
Tbilisi Park is due to open in the capital of Argentina, Buenos-Aires. The decision was recently made by the city parliament.
Young people detained by occupying forces in the Truso gorge
Some young Georgian hikers have recently been detained by armed forces in the Truso gorge. They have been accused of illegally crossing the so-called border into the occupied Tskhinvali region.
Wildfire in Khashuri, Tseda village
Fire broke out yesterday in Khashuri, Tseda village, in the forest.
Travel between Ukraine and Georgia for both countries’ citizens to be allowed only by electronic ID cards
The Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze has announced that the citizens of Georgia and Ukraine will be able to travel in and out of both countries using only electronic ID cards.
Why does the Georgians love John McCain?
John McCain, Senator, and former Presidential candidate of the USA died on the 25th of August, 2018. He was diagnosed with lioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer last year.
The IBSU Conundrum
Teachers, students and students-to-be all took to the streets when the news broke that the International Black Sea University, one of the most highly regarded universities in the country, wouldn’t be admitting new students into its ranks this year.
Angela Merkel arrives in Georgia
German chancellor Angela Merkel has already arrived in Georgia.
German media about possible reasons for  Merkel’s visit to Georgia
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Tbilisi today, expectations are high and both the Georgian and German media are speculating about the possible results of the visit.
Angela Merkel to visit Georgia on August 23
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Georgia on the 23rd of August. Her plan is to visit the Caucasus states of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Georgian presidential candidate to Journalists –“Shake your brain!”
“Journalists should shake their brains” – said Georgian presidential candidate, Salome Zurabishvili to journalists.
What does Giorgi Margvelashvili own?
The presidential election will be held on 28th of October, 2018 in Georgia. The President Giorgi Margvelashvili has not yet confirmed his participation in the election.
"Father returned for mother ... then the bomb landed …”
10 years on, this is a different August. But this month is a time of remembrance and of hard memories and hurt.
The World talks about the 2008 war
On the tenth anniversary of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, 20% of Georgia continues to be occupied by Russian military forces who also seem intent of further encroachment on Georgian territory.
Georgia hosts high ranking guests for the 10th anniversary of the 2008 war
Ten years have passed since the Russian military intervention in Georgia,in August, 2008.
 10 Years Anniversary of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia – “Mission supports stability and security on the ground”
10 years have now passed since the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia and still we face a huge daily threat. Certain parts of Georgia continue to be occupied even today.
Heroin seized near Georgia-Azerbaijan State Border
Border Police from the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs have arrested a 28 year old individual.
After ten years from the 2008 war, borderization continues
It is ten years since the 2008 August war between Russia and Georgia.
Multinational Noble Partner training 2018 has launched
The multinational Noble Partner training 2018 commenced on the 1st of August.
National Democratic Institute publishes the latest survey
Poll results released today by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia show growing dissatisfaction about the state of the country’s economy, environment, and political climate going into the presidential election.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze needs 5 more Regional Governors
At a recent Government press conference Mamuka Bakhtadze, the Prime Minister of Georgia, announced that new Governors for the following regions are required:
German government plans to recognize Georgia among safe countries
The German government will shortly approve a law, which enables the countries such as Georgia, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria to be recognized as safe countries
Latvian MEP Andrejs Mamikins about Georgia’s prospects for EU membership
Georgia is a country that wants to become member of the EU, but how does it look from Brussels?
Military equipment and techniques created by Georgians
Delta is a Military, Scientific and Technical Provider.
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange