The Finance Ministry agrees to restructure tax debt of Batumi-based television station, Channel 25, so that not to hinder the station’s operations, Giorgi Tugushi, the public defender, said after meeting with Finance Minister, Kakha Baindurashvili, on October 29.
On October 9 the Batumi City Court rejected the TV station’s appeal and upheld a decision by the local tax service’s decision, according to which Channel 25 has to pay GEL 277,547 (about USD 166,000). The TV station feared that the decision would endanger its operation, as law entitles the state to auction the TV station’s assets if the latter fails to repay the debt.
The TV station says that GEL 277,547 unpaid tax was accumulated in a period it was under the control of then Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze, who seized it from its legal owners, who were able to restore their ownership rights only after Abashidze had to resign in 2004.
The Public Defender said that he underlined during the meeting with the Finance Minister “importance of existence of an independent regional media.”