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As Ivanishvili Battles Swiss Bank, GD Hints at U.S. Pushing Georgia into War

The Georgian Dream party chair Irakli Kobakhidze advanced accusations today that certain forces from abroad –  hinting at the U.S. – are pushing the GD founder, former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili to return to politics and make a choice “for war.”

The somewhat outlandish accusation, echoed by pro-government pundits in what looks like a coordinated campaign, came as Switzerland-based investment banking company Credit Suisse is said to delay the payment of around USD 600 million to Ivanishvili, which he won in a court settlement.

GD chair says the bank unfairly quoted “geopolitical circumstances” to justify the delay.

The top court of Bermuda ruled in late March that Ivanishvili and his family are due damages “substantially in excess of USD 500 million” from Credit Suisse’s insurance arm. Credit Suisse said in its recent report that the judgment is expected to be in the amount of approximately USD 600 million. The CS in March said the judgment is not yet final and is subject to appeal, which it intends to “vigorously pursue.”

Kobakhidze then insinuated, that such reasoning by the Swiss company came as one part of the coordinated action from abroad, with other elements being Ukraine’s decision to recall the Ambassador from Tbilisi, and the recent release of audiotape purporting to show Ivanishvili having business dealings with sanctioned Russian tycoon, Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

“If someone is attempting to make Bidzina Ivanishvili return to Georgian politics against his will so that the country joins the [Ukraine] war…. they don’t know Bidzina Ivanishvili well, I think,” Kobakhidze argued.

Although being questioned by a journalist, whether he meant the U.S. was behind this alleged “coordinated effort,” the GD chair responded that “given [his] political responsibilities [he] could not go into such details.”

GD Pundits Point Finger at the U.S.

The Imedi TV, closely aligned with the Georgian Dream to advance its public relation messaging, ran several news items with pundits aligned with the ruling party directly accusing the U.S.

Statement of GD-friendly philosopher Zaza Shatirishvili claimed that the U.S. is the only force “that makes commands” and is aiming to involve Georgia in the Russo-Ukrainian war, “as evidenced by the Swiss bank delaying the transfer of funds to Bidzina Ivanishvili.”

Shatirishvili claimed “this ‘commanding force’ needs the second frontline [in Georgia] to globalize the conflict, as Russia does not seem to be getting the international isolation it envisioned… The ‘commanding force’ believes that the main thing, in this case, is financial pressure, chantage” over Ivanishvili.

Imedi TV also gave space to the social media post of Khatuna Khoperia, a former politician, who advanced a conspiracy theory tying the criticisms advanced by the United National Movement, EU MPs critical of Georgia, and the U.S. administration into one thread allegedly pulling Georgia into Ukraine war.

By the end of the day, several GD MPs, such as Sozar Subari and Irakli Kadagishvili repeated similar claims over war and blackmail, strongly suggesting a coordinated messaging campaign.

Ivanishvili’s New Lawsuit Against CS

Kobakhidze’s accusations came as PR company Cision, hired by the Ivanishvili family, reported on May 6 about the new lawsuit against Credit Suisse in Guernsey Court, alleging significant failures and political pressure by the CS trustee.

Cision press release said the trustee, Green Vals Trust, when requested a disbursement by Ivanishvili, “made unreasonable requests for information and referenced the ‘geopolitical environment in Eastern Europe’ as justification for the delay.”

The PR company highlighted in the press note that the Ivanishvili family has no links to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has not been subject to any sanctions.

It also explained that Ivanishvili holds dual Georgian and French nationality and that he “cannot be in any manner related to the list of sanctioned organizations and individuals.”

The company said Ivanishvili was planning series of “meetings with the media” internationally to “break down the myths associated with so-called untainted image of Swiss banking and the judiciary.”

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

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