Billionaire-turned-politician, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has bought 8.67% of stake in the Tbilisi-based Progress Bank, owned by Georgian footballer Kakhi Kaladze, the Progress Bank said in a statement on November 24.
It said that the deal made it possible to increase Progress Bank’s authorized capital by GEL 1.3 million (about USD 790,000) to GEL 14.98 million.
Progress Bank is part of Kala Capital, Kaladze-owned investment group, which was established in early 2008. The bank reported GEL 215,700 (about USD 130,000) profit in 2010.
Kaladze, who now plays for Italy’s Serie A club Genoa and is a captain of the Georgian national team, first announced about his support to Ivanishvili shortly after the billionaire philanthropist went into politics last month.
Kaladze said in a statement on his Facebook page on November 24, that after the deal between Ivanishvili and the Progress Bank, the Georgian central bank launched an inspection of the Progress Bank’s operations.
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG), which is inspecting Ivanishvili’s Cartu Bank since October 19, has confirmed that it was inspecting the Progress Bank’s operations too, but declined to provide details citing confidentiality of the matter.
No details of the ongoing probe are provided in Kaladze’s statement either. He slammed the probe as “terror carried out by the National Bank at first against the Cartu Bank and now against the Progress Bank.”
“You all know that I have extended the hand of friendship to Bidzina Ivanishvili and offered him to stand beside him in the struggle against the regime and this [offer] still stands,” Kaladze said in the statement. “Eight years have passed since the Rose Revolution. These have been terrible eight years of disappointment and nihilism. We, the Georgian people, should manage to change the current regime not through the revolution, but through all the constitutional means.”