The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) has demanded the withdrawal of the head of the supervisory council of the Georgian leading TBC bank Mamuka Khazaradze and the deputy head of the council Badri Japaridze from the council due to a money laundering case being investigated by the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office.
Khazaradze, who founded the bank 27 years ago, says that he is not going to leave the bank and connects the “deliberate campaign against him” with the construction of Anaklia deep sea port in western Georgia of international importance.
NBG gave two months’ time to the shareholders’ assembly of the bank to withdraw the two top bankers from the supervisory agency.
The reason behind the decision is the violation of the Interest Conflict Regulatory Law by Khazaradze and Japaridze in connection with the transaction conducted in 2007-2008,” NBG says.
It also suspended the right of the two to sign bank documents.
TBC Bank Group PLC (TBC Bank) is the UK-incorporated parent company of JSC TBC Bank and its subsidiaries, which is the largest banking group in Georgia, TBC writes. Photo: 1TV.
NBG claims that the decision is about certain figures of the bank and says that the bank itself will not be affected.
Khazaradze posted a response on his Facebook page late yesterday and stated that “we will not leave our jobs, and defend our freedom and dignity. We will not get adapted to the injustice.”
He says that the world leading juridical company DENTONS had studied the transaction which is being investigated for now and revealed “not even a slight violation of the law.”
It causes doubts that such a fast decision [of NBG] and the campaign which aims to discredit us are taking place when we [TBC] are so close to carry out the very important project for the country-the Anaklia deep sea port project,” Khazaradze said.
The TBC bank says that it continues legal fight regarding the issue in the court and Khazaradze and Japaridze preserve their posts in the supervisory council.
The Anaklia deep sea project is the $2.5 billion project which was kicked off in 2017.
The port will play the role of a faster maritime corridor between China and Europe, helping to restore the historic Silk Road.
The Anaklia deep sea project kicked off in 2017. Photo: Ministry of Economy press office.
The Anaklia Development Consortium will invest $2.5 billion USD in the Anaklia Deep Sea Port project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
The consortium was jointly established by local company TBC Holding and US firm Conti International.
The port is expected to significantly raise Georgia’s economic potential and its international role, even making the country more attractive for NATO.
The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office stated earlier in January 2018 that its Financial Monitoring Service launched a study of financial assets of TBC Bank, its client companies, bank administrators and particular shareholders in May 2018, which revealed that there were “signs of money laundering”.
We launched the investigation into money laundering on 2 August 2018. The case concerns developments in 2008, when LTD Samgori M and LTD Samgori Trade received a 17 million USD loan in an accelerated manner from TBC Bank without providing any real estate,” the Prosecutor’s Office says.
The office reported that when the money was placed on the accounts of the companies, head of TBC Mamuka Khazaradze and another representative of the bank Badri Japaridze took the same amount of loan as physical entities from TBC.
The Prosecutor’s Office says that at the end of 2008, TBC, without providing any genuine reasons, wrote off the debt of the companies and in 2012 completely freed the companies from any financial obligations before the bank.