The Pandora Papers, a massive leak of about 12 million documents from 14 offshore service providers, detail among others purported secret financial stakes of Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which examined the leaks, says the documents reveal that Ivanishvili established 12 companies in the British Virgin Islands, an offshore haven, between 1998 and 2016. The group says all the companies, at some point, listed Panama-based offshore service provider Alcogal as an agent.
Citing data current through 2017, the ICIJ says it identified Ivanishvili as a beneficial owner of Silverport Trading Limited, Vanity Overseas Ltd., Morley Consultants Ltd., Finseck Ltd., Brightstone Finance Ltd., Sargans Ltd., Flamon Ltd., Ringold Finance Ltd., Plikar Trading Ltd., Krista Investments Ltd., Silverport Holdings Ltd., and Brighton Corporate Ltd.
Based on the leaked documents, the investigative journalists say Silverport Holdings Ltd. was set up in 2016 to hold publicly listed companies through a brokerage account, while Finseck, established in 1999, was supposedly linked to a trust Ivanishvili set up for his children.
Meanwhile, according to ICIJ, Ivanishvili founded Brighton Corporate Ltd. to finance debt-equity of certain projects of the Georgian Co-Investment Fund, a group that has invested in some of the largest projects in Georgia, including Paragraph Resort and Spa in seaside Shekvetili village of Guria region, Axis Towers and Galleria Tbilisi in the capital.
Reports about Ivanishvili’s purported offshore dealings have emerged before – in the similar ICIJ investigation dubbed Panama Papers in 2017 and several reports published by Transparency International Georgia, a local corruption watchdog.
Supposed links with Poti Free Industrial Zone
A June 2021 report by TI Georgia said Ivanishvili’s Brightsone Finance Ltd., established in 2015 according to the Pandora Papers, is a controlling shareholder of Georgia-based Eurasian Invest LLC, a company that through several other firms holds sizeable stakes in Poti Free Industrial Zone, a tax haven near Georgia’s key port of Poti.
In an earlier report, of April 2021, TI Georgia argued the profitability of the Poti Free Industrial Zone was directly related to cargo turnover in the Poti port.
Anaklia Development Consortium, which was supposed to carry out the Anaklia Deep Sea Port Project before the government terminated its contract with the firm in 2020 over unfulfilled obligations, stated on October 4 the Pandora Leaks confirm Ivanishvili “lobbied” against the project because of his “personal economic interest” in developing Poti port instead.
“Ivanishvili’s total influence over the Georgian Dream government is known,” stressed the ADC, claiming Ivanishvili had opposed the Anaklia Project since 2017.
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