“Rustavi 2” TV Company case: Court decision, supporters, confronting parties
03 March, 2017
“Rustavi 2” TV Company case: Court decision, supporters, confronting parties
By the decision of Georgia’s Supreme Court, the businessman Kibar Khalvashi is declared the owner of 60% of shares of Rustavi 2 TV Company and as for the remaining 40%, they are declared the property of Panorama Ltd. The decision sparked protests in one part of Georgian society.

Dozens of Rustavi 2 supporters gathered in front of the TV company and spent the whole night there. Some of them even set up tents, which remain on the territory to this moment.
The citizens began to gather in front of Rustavi 2 after the decision of the Supreme Court was officially announced. A part of the society thinks this decision is illegal and represents the intention from the authorities to silence the free media.

The Director General of Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia, said at yesterday’s pres-conference that he and his team are ready to buy the company from Kibar Khalvashi and until the latter makes the decision, Rustavi 2 will continue broadcasting.

“Kibar Khalvashi was demanding a little more than 7 million Georgian laris at the court. We have calculated and it is exactly 4 209 397 US dollars according to the exchange rate that was by that time. He has already received some amount of this money and we are ready to pay the remaining 3 944 397. We know he plans to sell the company and that is why we are addressing him and his lobbyists, aka Georgian government. Give us the company and we will satisfy your commercial interest,” Gvaramia said.

“We are going to continue working, we will not stop broadcasting and you can’t force us to. If you switch off the signal, you will receive more damage and the damage to the country will be a lot more serious. We don’t want that. We are the citizens and patriots of this country. These people, standing behind me, will do everything for this TV company to function properly and manage the financial issues so as to pay Kibar Khalvashi the money he is demanding. They will not sell this company and we can include this condition into the agreement. This is my last word and now the ball is on your half of the pitch. You have already killed the freedom of speech as well as the judiciary in this country and so we are offering a way out from this very embarrassing situation,” Gvaramia added.
Kibar Khalvashi has already commented on Gvaramia’s offer:

“Unless the threat from Misha (Saakashvili, the former President of Georgia) is eliminated, I cannot sell Rustavi 2 to anyone,” Khalvashi told InterPressNews agency.

He says he has never said he was going to sell the company, although he did say that maybe someday he will, but not today or tomorrow.
“I have never commented on selling the company. I am a businessman and my approach is simple: I never make promises. So I have never promised to anyone that I am going to stay in the TV business all my life. However, I did say that I am not going to sell Rustavi 2 in the near future,” Khalvashi said.

He also said he is not going to negotiate anything with Nika Gvaramia, because he is a ‘damned opportunist’.

“Nika Gvaramia has become a multimillionaire, I see. When he was a high-ranking official, we lost 50 million because of him, Misha and their partners and now I plan to make them reimburse that. Nika Gvaramia is a damned opportunist. He is not the person with whom it is possible to reach any kind of agreement. He is a representative of Misha and talking with Misha absolutely useless. He is a person with whom you cannot achieve any agreement,” Khalvashi says.

The lawyers of Rustavi 2 are planning to file a suit to the European Court of Human Rights, with the demand to suspend the decision made by Georgian Supreme Court.

US Embassy to Georgia as well as Freedom House are expressing concern on the developments around Rustavi 2.

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US Embassy concerned on the Supreme Court’s Decision Related to Rustavi 2
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