The Georgian Rightsholders Association (GERA), uniting local copyright owners, faces accusations of aiding the Russian Authors’ Society (RAO) to evade the financial sanctions fallout on Russia.
A letter unveiled today by the opposition Droa party leader, Elene Khoshtaria purports to show the RAO offering the Estonian Authors’ Society (EAÜ) to forward the due royalties via the Georgian Association. In the document, the RAO supposedly says the GERA would receive the payments in Russian Rubles, convert them locally into U.S. Dollars or Euros and then transfer them to the EAÜ.
According to the letter, GERA has further expressed readiness to carry out the operations without charging any additional fees except the costs of transactions.
The Russian Authors’ Society further claimed to have a “reciprocal representation agreement” with the GERA, and an IT solution to carry out the transactions.
RAO suggested carrying out the transfers via GERA as a solution to problems it faces with royalties’ exchange in foreign currencies, amid sanctions on Russian banks and limitations imposed by Moscow on non-Ruble transfers overseas.
The document was supposedly penned by Ivan Zadorozhniy, Head of the RAO’s International Office.
GERA Responds to Accusations
GERA denies the allegations.
It issued a brief statement today, stressing it has neither received the letter from the Russian Authors’ Society unveiled by Elene Khoshtaria today nor agreed to any such offer by RAO nor has plans to do so in the future.
Instead, GERA shot back at the opposition leader, demanding from her to publish any documents that could confirm GERA had accepted the proposal from the Russian organization.
“We demand you to stop spreading disinformation and discrediting our association,” it said.
The Georgian Dream government, led by PM Irakli Garibashvili, rejected the idea of imposing any new sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, but the Georgian authorities pledged Georgia will not allow Moscow to evade international sanctions.
Despite the absence of bilateral sanctions, the National Bank of Georgia has had to comply with freshly imposed financial measures against Russia, including by cutting off the Russian state-owned VTB Bank Georgia’s access to foreign currencies.