Ex-Formal Owner Claims Pressure over Imedi TV
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Dec.'08 / 16:45

A man who formally co-owned late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili’s Imedi TV shares claimed on December 10, that he had been forced by the authorities to give up his shares and hand them over to the television station’s current owner Joseph Kay.

Gogi Jaoshvili, who was Patarkatsishvili’s friend, was registered in official papers as an owner of 70% of JMG, a company with a 65% stake in I-Media, which has total ownership of Imedi TV and radio. Jaoshvili also was a chairman of I-Media’s board of supervisors.

Joseph Kay, a distant relative of Patarkatsishvili, claims that he became the television station’s owner after he had bought shares from Jaoshvili “simply by paying money” in February, 2008, after the death of Patarkatsishvili. The late tycoon’s family, however, argues that Kay has illegally gained control over the television stations with the help of the Georgian authorities.

Jaoshvili, who made no public statement on the matter throughout this period, broke the silence on December 10 at a press conference convened by the Patarkatsishvili family and attorneys representing the family’s interests.

Jaoshvili said that on February 19, a week after the Patarkatsishvili’s death, Joseph Kay asked him to meet to discuss matters related with the late tycoon’s assets in Georgia. At the meeting, Jaoshvili said, Kay showed him papers saying that he had power of attorney to manage the Patarkatsishvili’s assets. Then, Jaoshvili continued, he and Kay went to the notary’s office, accompanied by representatives of the law enforcement agencies.

“I explained to them that I had no right to sell or hand over my shares without agreement from other co-owners,” Jaoshvili said. “The representatives from the law enforcement agencies, which were present there, told me that there would be no problems with other co-owners. Then I explained them that the Imedi’s assets were frozen [Patarkatsishvili assets were frozen in January in connection with criminal charges against him involving conspiracy to overthrow the government]… In two hours, however, they brought court papers saying that the assets were unfrozen. After that I signed a sale-purchase agreement.”

He has also claimed that on the same day he was taken by the law enforcement officers in the office of the Financial Police, where he was demanded “to voluntarily resign” from the position of chairman of supervisory board of I-Media. “Tough methods of psychological pressure were exerted against me and I had to sign resignation papers,” Jaoshvili said.

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