Businessman Kibar Khalvashi has sold his 78% of shares in the Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 television, Imedi TV reported on November 19.
According to Imedi TV’s weekly Droeba (Times) program, Rustavi 2 TV shares were purchased by the transportation company GeoTrans, which reportedly is owned by a close friend of Dimitri Kitoshvili, the Chairman of the National Regulatory Commission for Communications.
The deal was reached shortly before Irakli Okruashvili filed his resignation from the Economy Minister’s position on November 17. According to Imedi TV, the deal was made through Kitoshvili's mediation.
Kibar Khalvashi is a close friend of Irakli Okruashvili, according to the Georgian media.
Rustavi 2 TV said its top management will comment latter on November 20.
Executives from GeoTrans were not available for comments.
Khalvashi purchased Rustavi 2 TV shares in 2004 from Erosi Kitsmarishvili after the latter fell out with governmental officials.
In early 2006 Rustavi 2 broadcasting company bought shares of Tbilisi-based TV station Mze (Sun), and as a result a new Georgian media holding was set up.
In recent years any change of ownership of Rustavi 2 has been linked with a shift in the balance of power in Georgian politics.