The Civil Registry Agency launched procedures for revocation of Georgian citizenship from a billionaire-turned-politician, Bidzina Ivanishvili, after the latter publicly announced on October 7 about also having the French citizenship, head of the agency said in a written statement on Wednesday.
Giorgi Vashadze said, that Ivanishvili's October 7 statement contained "one significant for us news about obtaining citizenship of a foreign state, in particular about obtaining the French citizenship after getting the Georgian citizenship in 2004."
"Just that circumstance represented a reason behind an automatic revocation of [the Georgian] citizenship from Bidzina Ivanishvili, carried out in line with procedures envisaged by the law," Vashadze said.
The Civil Registry Agency at the Georgian Justice Ministry first announced that Ivanishvili lost his Georgian citizenship - depriving him the right to establish and finance a political party - on October 11. It said that the move was carried out based on article 32 of the law on Georgian citizenship, according to which obtaining a citizenship of other state by a Georgian citizen results in loss of the Georgian citizenship.The registry initial statement, however, did not say anything when the procedures were launched.
Meanwhile, Eka Beselia, a lawyer acting on behalf of Ivanishvili said in a statement on October 12, that Ivanishvili was still the Georgian citizen, who had not been informed about any legal procedures launched in connection to his citizenship; neither had he received any papers confirming that he lost his Georgian citizenship.
"Instead of using unacceptable methods of political persecution, the authorities should show wisdom and stop putting own desires above the law. We demand clear and concrete explanation and at the same time receiving of a legal act based on which the authorities have decided that Bidzina Ivanishvili is no longer the Georgian citizen," Beselia said in the statement.
In his written statement on October 7 Ivanishvili said that he was intending to renounce his French and Russian citizenship.
“About one third of my capital, in the form of various businesses, is located in Russia. To avoid emergence of additional questions among the society during my political activities, I will sell my businesses in Russia before the 2012 parliamentary elections. For the same reason, I will say no to dual citizenship and will return my Russian and French passports in the nearest days,” Ivanishvili said in the statement.
Revocation of the Georgian citizenship also requires a presidential order. No such presidential order was available on the state online registry of legal acts as of October 12.
The President’s decision on citizenship, according to the law, can be appealed to the court.
In his statement on October 12, head of the Civil Registry Agency, Giorgi Vashadze, indicated, that no exception could have been made in case of Ivanishvili and his citizenship would have been revoked as soon as it became known for the authorities that he obtained the French passport after receiving the Georgian citizenship.
"Each and every citizen of Georgia is equal before the law whether it is an ordinary citizen, wealthy or poor or the President," Vashadze said.
Information available on Ivanishvili in the Forbes list of world's billionaires, dated with March, 2011, says: "Last year he received French citizenship, adding to his Russian and Georgian passports."
According to the law on citizenship, the state should decide whether to grant or not a person citizenship within three months following the application.
According to the law, an applicant can be refused Georgian citizenship if a person “has committed an international crime against peace and humanity”; “has taken part in a crime against the state” or if granting of a citizenship would be “inexpedient” from the point of view of state and public security.