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Committee Hearing on TBC Bank Ends without Deliberations

The Parliament’s Economy and Economic Policy Committee convened on February 26 to deliberate on the TBC bank case, but the hearing ended without case-related discussions.

The President of the National Bank of Georgia, Koba Gvenetadze, who was to deliver a report to the Committee members, said he did not consider it reasonable to speak on the issue publicly, implying that he would not answer the politicians’ questions.

“Discussing the NBG’s oversight decisions in such formats is not reasonable as it could endanger the financial sector; questioning the NBG decisions [in such formats] is an attack against the regulator and an attempt to exert influence on it,” he noted.

Gvenetadze was invited at the Committee hearing by the Parliamentary minority group. Former Chairman of the bank’s Supervisory Board and his deputy, Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, respectively, were present in the chamber as well, but did not get a chance to speak.

Georgian Dream MPs agreed with Gvenetadze, saying public discussions could harm the country’s financial stability. The idea, however, was unacceptable for the opposition, and the Committee hearing ended without discussions as sides failed to agree a mutually-acceptable format.

Speaking to reporters, MP Davit Bakradze of the European Georgia party said the hearing was called off as the NBG President “was not ready to answer the questions of MPs and the public.” “It became apparent that the case is not a dispute between the NBG and the bank; it is a politically-motivated case,” he noted.

MP Roman Gotsiridze of the United National Movement echoed the criticism, saying he was once again convinced that “all public agencies are ruled by Bidzina Ivanishvili.” “The NBG President is Ivanishvili’s hostage; Gvenetadze has lost any moral rights to preside over the bank,” he added.

Mamuka Khazaradze spoke to reporters as well, saying he simply wanted to give his explanations. “We wanted to inform the media, the public and the MPs of what happened in reality; [that] we have become target of an orchestrated attack; we were forced to leave the bank, but we will not give up our dignity and justice,” he said.

“The issue is not about Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze. It is also not about TBC Bank only. It concerns the reputation of Georgia… Regrettably, some opinions have already been voiced [internationally] that Georgia is moving in the wrong direction,” Khazaradze added.

The Prosecutor’s Office launched criminal investigation against TBC Bank, the leading Georgian banking company, in January 2019 over money-laundering allegations involving a USD 17 million transaction that took place in 2008. The bank denied the charges, saying the transaction was legal and was inspected multiple times by the authorities, the NBG and international auditors.

On February 13, the National Bank of Georgia requested TBC Bank’s shareholders to remove the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Mamuka Khazaradze and his deputy Badri Japaridze. Initially, the bank said it would challenge the decision in courts, but on February 21, Khazaradze and Japaridze resigned from their posts following the decision of the Supervisory Board to withdraw the lawsuit.

For more information, visit our tag on TBC Bank.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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