News

Report Details Ivanishvili’s Purported Business Links to Russia

A new report by the Transparency International (TI) Georgia, a local corruption watchdog, said that the ruling Georgian Dream party founder and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili is the beneficial owner of at least one company in Russia, while his inner circle continues to do business with a U.S.-sanctioned former KGB general.

Ivanishvili owns the firm in question, Aqua-Space Ltd., through his offshore company Vanity Overseas Ltd., TI Georgia said. The Aqua-Space is currently active and operates in the commercial property, buying and selling, as well as renting and managing non-residential buildings, according to the report.

The document noted that Olga Borovikova has served as the General Director of the company. She also serves as the director of Dolgovoe Agentstvo, a legal successor of Unicor, a company founded by Ivanishvili to manage his assets in Russia, the watchdog added.

The study findings said that in 2013 when Ivanishvili served as the Georgian Prime Minister, his Aqua-Space Ltd. took merged with two other Russian companies — Enterprise Service Ltd. and Prestige Market Ltd. Later in 2014, the company also merged with Transforming Group Ltd., another Russian firm.

Besides operating in Russia, the offshore-based Vanity Overseas Ltd. owns Aqua Center Ltd. in Georgia, run by GD founder’s nephew Kakha Kobiashvili, the watchdog noted. As per the report, Kobiashvili officially represents Ivanishvili’s offshore companies in Georgia.

Despite making a promise to dispose of his Russian assets upon entering politics in 2011, the Georgian billionaire remained a beneficial owner of at least 10 companies — branching out into a wider network of subsidiaries — in Russia through offshore firms between 2012 and 2019, per the report.

The report said that until 2015, Ivanishvili held through offshore company Wellminstone S.A., a Russian firm called Industrial TechGlobal Ltd. This company had previously merged with other Russian firms of the offshore holding — with ResourceFutures Ltd., in 2014 and TransFinanceActive Ltd., Securities Market Financial-Analytical Group Ltd., MetProm Holding Ltd., Telecomnetwork ltd.., SpecPromTrans Ltd., and ServiceTechAlliance Ltd. in 2008.

TI Georgia reported that Ivanishvili’s other offshore company Wenigen Management Ltd. also owned multiple firms in Russia during different periods — Firm AVEK Ltd. until 2019, TERS Ltd. until November 2015, KMA-HoldingTrans Ltd. until June 2015, and MK-Holding Ltd. until November 2013.

Supposed Links to Russia Via Relatives

TI Georgia that the GD founder’s cousin, Ucha Mamatsashvili does business with former KGB general and governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko, sanctioned by the U.S. amid Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine.

According to the report, the Russian enterprise registry shows that the sons of Mamatsashvili and Poltavcheno held 25% and 10%, respectively, in Geo Organics Ltd., a producer of biologically active additives and cosmetics. The company is also registered in Georgia and the UK, TI Georgia noted.

Citing investigative reports by government-critical TV Pirveli and Formula TV, the watchdog further claimed that Mamatsashvili and the GD founder’s brother Aleksandre Ivanishvili have business ties with Roland Kherianov, a former official of Russia’s Volgograd region and the husband of former Russian State Duma member Anna Kuvichko.

Per the study, Kherianov held shares of Geo Organics Ltd., and subsidiary Geo Med Ltd, as well as a 24.5% stake in the UK-registered branch of the company, through his mother in 2019-2021. Meanwhile, until 2022 30.5% of the UK-based Geo Organics Ltd., was held by Alexander Ivanishvili.

TI Georgia said Kherianov has also served as a member of the Board of Directors at the Russian pharmacy network named “36.6.” The company was a subsidiary of Erkepharm, owned by Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Unicor holding in Russia until 2012.

Also Read:

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

Back to top button