Exclusive Interview from Prison
17 November, 2011
Exclusive Interview from Prison

How Khodorkovski made 8 billions, old relations between Ivanishvili and Malkin

Recently we received a phone call from businessman Merab Ratishvili, currently an inmate of Rustavi #6 prison. Once he was the President of National Golf Association of Georgia. Moreover, in the past he used to be a deputy of Boris Berezovski, CIS executive secretary and then the president of international organization of CIS economic cooperation. At one point he knew key players in the Russian business very well. Among them were

Khodorkovski, Malkin, and others, including Bidzina Ivanishvili. He was in a haste to tell us everything because the phone connection used to terminate every five minutes.


A: I and Khodorkovski are peers. We used to work together in the City Committee of Moscow Komsomol. According to the order of Georgian Government I was sending oil to Georgia. The war was in full swing at the time. Khodorkovski stopped the fuel I sent to Georgia. He demanded to sell it to him. I was using his bank (Menatep) for the operations. He blackmailed me: either sell or say good bye to it. I refused, saying that the oil was needed for my country. Then he called Fuel and Energy Minister Shakhranik, his deputy Fomin and they cancelled my quotas. They did not allow the ship enter the port for 45 days because the TransNefts did not reimburse me the cost. They stopped all my operation there. I lost 4 million dollars.

Khodorkovski did everything to have me lose the oil. We had common friends, used to know each other since the age of 22. Nevertheless, he and Platon Lebedev, who is in prison together with him, did all these to me. Well, I acknowledge that they are political prisoners. I just want to tell you about what they have done years ago. They were fighting against me. I managed to have Khodorkovski fined. In response, he had the law enforcers threaten me to stop or else they would get the drop on my family. So, I had to send my family out of the country in September, 1993.

Q: Can you tell us something about the infamous auction of deposits and possible links to it of Khodorkovski and Bidzina Ivanishvili?

A: The auction of deposits was an activity area of the Round Table of Russian Businessmen, where I was a member of both presidium and council. Ivanishvili did take part in it. Malkin was there instead of him. They gave the credit of 100 million to Khodorkovski. He invested it into the auction. When the packages were opened, they found that Khodorkovski managed to grab the property worth of 2 billions by means of only 100 million. Those 2 billions must have been as much as 4 billions at that time. It happened in December, 1995. A week later we discussed the issue at the council of the Round Table. Khodorkovski did not come. But all top figures were present. Malkin too was there instead of Ivanishvili because Malkin was the president of his bank, while Ivanishvili was the vice-president. I asked the executive secretary not to allow anybody inside with bodyguards and everybody leave weapons at the entrance. They took a due note of my suggestion because situation was extremely explosive. People of the Khodorkovski’s Menatep Bank could have easily been ripped apart. Khodorkovski started with Menatep and finished with Yukos. He also grabbed the money of the Communist Party.

Q: How much?

A: Billions. At that time, the Communist Party had more money than the country’s budget. If not me, Khodorkovski’s deputy would have been beaten up at the council meeting. Khodorkovski cheated the people. That way he amassed 8 billion.

Q: What do you know about Bidzina Ivanishvili’s activities in Russia?

A: I know Bidzina since 1996. He was a smart, gifted and very orderly guy. The people who followed his mentoring are multi-millionaires already. If anybody has legal business in the CIS, it’s Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Q: But he is accused of having ties with Malkin. What do you make of it?

A: I do not know in what problems Malkin has entangled himself. I am inclined to think that he is being set up by his competitors. That’s all. I doubt he committed anything even resembling a crime. I cannot believe that he was involved in arms trade.

Q: The Authorities call Bidzina Ivanishvili the Russia’s guy.

A: Absolute nonsense. It’s silly when they say that Ivanishvili is not a politician. He has potential. We have not had a man of his abilities so far. I fear that among the people visiting Bidzina, there could be agents who next day report to the MIA. I mean the people who want to hitch their decrepit carriages to Ivanishvili’s train.

Q: They say that Ivanishvili could not have made his fortune in Russia without Putin…

A: That’s why he left Russia. His partners are taking care of his business. His help to the Authorities is so immense that even their parents could not have done it. Well, these guys are blind. They can’t see anybody’s good deeds.

Q: Some people even say that Bidzina Ivanishvili is in danger.

A: Danger is always there. After our conversation, I too will be in danger but I can’t help talking with you. What can I do here, inside the four walls? I am sure Mr. Ivanishvili calculated everything in advance and knows that these guys will do any indecency. I want him to stand firm and keep his team clear of traitors as much as possible. Once we did talk about the fate of our country but we have talked last to each other 7-8 years ago. I was glad that he entered politics. On the other hand, I became anxious about who is going to stand beside him. So far, those who seem to be active and visible, are capable of stabbing his back.

Q: Who do you mean?

A: I cannot name them. He himself knows it very well. He must have studied all of  them already. He will not do anything without planning.

Q: By the way, the council meeting held on the auction of deposits was attended by Kakha Bendukidze, the former Georgian Minister of Economy.

A: If he is a decent man, Bendukidze has to tell the Authorities that Bidzina is the purest man in business.

Q: Did he and Bidzina Ivanishvili ever confront each other?

A: No, Ivanishvili would never appear in person. Malkin was always in the forefront.

Q: Why that?

A: Bidzina knew that a Georgian would not be allowed to succeed in Russia. It was Bidzina who founded the bank, who formed its kitchen and human resources. Malkin was admitting it. If I were out of prison I would recall many other things. But it’s enough for now.

Other Stories
Russian MFA Statement About Lugar Research Center-Another Disinformation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia responds to the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding Lugar's laboratory.
UN Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution On Occupied Territories Of Georgia
The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the occupied territories of Georgia - "Cooperation with Georgia" within the framework of its 43rd session.
Kurt Volker about 20th of June: People Can’t Forget That
Given that one year has passed since June 20, 2019, it is interesting to see how the West assesses the developments in Georgia during this one year and what expectations it has for the October parliamentary elections.
Eastern Partnership Beyond 2020- Context and Expectations
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) marked its 10th anniversary in 2019. The round dates always come with reflections and new resolutions for the future.
"8 March Agreement Is Very important For Georgian Democracy"-Carl Hartzell
The 8th March agreement concerned not only the change in the electoral system but justice and the impermissibility of political partiality in electoral processes, - stated the Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Carl Hartzell during his video broadcast.
Donald Trump Congratulates Georgia on Independence Day
The President of the United States of America Donald Trump sent a letter of congratulations to the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia on Independence Day.
US Ambassador Congratulating Georgia on the Independence Day
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has congratulated Georgia on the Independence Day.
Georgia's President Warns Covid-19 Crisis Could Trigger Russian Aggression
Georgia’s president has warned that Russia’s struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus and an economic crisis compounded by an oil price collapse risk is triggering new Kremlin aggression beyond its borders, - reads an article published by Financial Times.
Creation of Maps Violating Georgia's Territorial Integrity To be Considered Illegal
Production, advertising, use, and transportation of maps and other objects reflecting the violation of the principle of territorial integrity of Georgia will be considered as an illegal act.
Turkey Starts Accepting Health Tourists From Georgia
Turkey has started accepting foreign patients from several countries, including from Georgia.
Georgia Has The Greatest Support In the World From EU-Carl Hartzell
A true friend is known to be in trouble, and we have proved that we are true friends, ”-EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzel said during an online meeting with members of the European Business Association.
The EU Council Has Approved a Package of Financial Assistance to Georgia
The Council of the European Union (EU) has approved a package of emergency macro-financial assistance for 10 countries as part of its Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy.
The US Ambassador Stresses The Importance of Fair Judiciary System
We would like to see more American companies invest in Georgia and more Georgian companies in the United States said US Ambassador Kelly Degnan during a virtual press conference.
"One More Political Prisoner Is Still Waiting To Be Released"-McAllister
The MEPs expressed their opinions about the political situation in Georgia at the discussion of the report on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia.
Promoting Georgia As a Safe Destination For Tourism
“Georgia – a safe destination” is a message that Georgian diplomats should send to people in their countries, - Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said while talking to Georgian ambassadors abroad via a video conference today.
UN To Allocate USD 1 Million To Support COVID-19 Crisis in Georgia
The United Nations will allocate USD 1 million for Georgia to help the country better respond to the immediate health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the most vulnerable groups from the devastating socio-economic impacts of the health crisis.
U.S. Senators Express Concern Over The Expulsion of American Businesses From Georgia
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Congressmen Judy Arrington, and Markwayne Mullin have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, expressing concern over the expulsion of U.S. companies and businesses from Georgia.
European Parliament Approves €150 Million Aid For Georgia
The European Parliament on Friday approved €3 billion in loans to help EU neighbors and partner countries deal with the fallout of COVID-19.
MEPs and U.S Senators Welcome the Pardon of Opposition Politicians
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili announced yesterday that she was pardoning Georgian opposition politicians Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili, which she said was ‘a very difficult decision’.
The Presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia Received a High Assessment
According to the Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, the presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia had a very high assessment at the international level.
Coronavirus Crisis is an Opportunity to Deepen Relations With the EU-Salome Zourabichvili
The President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili talked to the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö on March 14.
Greece to Take Over On Georgia's Chairmanship of CoE Committee of Ministers
The Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will officially be transferred from Georgia to Greece today.
Disinformation and COVID-19
In an era of COVID-19 disinformation is becoming a tool for some states as a political leverage. Political scientist Giorgi Gobronidze explains why the issue matters.
Exclusive interview with Israeli ambassador to Georgia
Israel's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Georgia, Ran Gidor, has been in Tbilisi for only a few months.
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
July 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31