The Anaklia Development Foundation announced on August 5 that Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, the incumbent chairman and deputy chairman of the Consortium’s Supervisory Board, who recently announced about their plans to resign, would be replaced by “highly reputable persons from international business and professional circles.”
In a statement released yesterday, the Consortium noted that three new members have been nominated to the board: R. Michael Cowgill, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia; Ted Jonas, Senior Counsel with the international law firm Dentons; and Jean-Patrick Voisin, President of Concorde Capital. The nominations are expected to be approved at the Consortium’s meeting of shareholders later this month.
“Once the shareholders vote to approve the appointments, R. Michael Cowgill is expected to assume the responsibilities of the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Mr. Jonas and Mr. Voisin will join as regular members,” the Consortium said in its statement.
The Consortium also released a statement by Mamuka Khazaradze, according to which the latter hails the Anaklia deep-sea port project as “vital,” noting that until “groundless accusations” against him and Badri Japaridze are dispelled, they will transfer their shares to “a safe international independent trust fund.”
Commenting on the planned changes, Levan Akhvlediani, director general of the Anaklia Development Consortium, explained that Khazaradze and Japaridze decided to resign to make sure that “groundless accusations” against them over money laundering did not cause harm to the Anaklia port project and the process of negotiations.
“When a person faces such charges, it is impossible for him to represent the company and to carry out negotiations between the Consortium and the government,” Akhvlediani told reporters.
Speaking about the Anaklia port project, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said that the government did its utmost to include the Anaklia project in the priority list of all international financial institutions. “We will take all steps to ensure that Georgia has a deep-sea port and Georgia will definitely have a deep-sea port,” he said.
Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze announced about their plans to resign on July 26, after Tbilisi City Court ruled that the founder and former Board Chair of the TBC Bank, Mamuka Khazaradze and his Deputy Badri Japaridze had to post a GEL 700,000 bail each after being charged in a money laundering lawsuit.
TBC Bank, the leading Georgian banking company, is facing criminal investigation over money-laundering allegations involving a USD 17 million transaction that took place in 2008.
The bank denies the charges, saying the transaction was legal and was inspected multiple times by the authorities, the National Bank and international auditors.