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PM Bakhtadze: TBC Bank affair ‘not related’ to Anaklia port project

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Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says the criminal investigation against the TBC Bank founder, Mamuka Khazaradze, will have no effect over the Anaklia deep sea port construction, a USD 2.5 billion investment project on the Black Sea coast, where Khazaradze’s TBC Holding is the leading partner.

“We are witnessing a very negative trend that there is an attempt to link the investigation against concrete individuals, over concrete bank transaction to the Anaklia deep sea port project; the two are not related,” Prime Minister Bakhtadze noted at his press briefing on March 12.

“The project was launched few years ago by our political team and this is an indivisible part of our vision,” he added.

The PM then stressed it is in the interest of the authorities “not to delay the project infinitely,” echoing the officials’ earlier statements that project developers failed to raise the funds in line with the contractually agreed timeline.

“The works were postponed several times and our objective, as well as of the Anaklia Development Consortium, should be to complete the construction process in a timely manner,” Mamuka Bakhtadze noted.

The Anaklia Development Consortium is a joint venture of TBC Holding and U.S.-based Conti International. It was awarded the contract to build and operate the deep sea port in 2016; construction works commenced in December 2017 and are currently underway.

Mamuka Khazaradze has linked the TBC investigation to the construction of the Anaklia port, suggesting that the purpose of the investigation could be to squeeze him and his deputy, Badri Japaridze out of the project.

Khazaradze also insists lack of clarity around TBC is impeding finalizing of the pending agreements on funding with foreign lenders, expected in coming May or June. He also says the lenders are asking for several amendments to the funding agreement, including the traffic risk guarantee – which the authorities are reluctant to undertake.

The government officials, on their part, have pointed at unfulfilled obligations by the Consortium, arguing that project developers failed to raise the funds on time, and hence, are behind the contractually agreed schedule. The authorities also claim fundraising for the project was problematic long before the investigation was launched.

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

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