The Tbilisi City Court approved on July 12 a motion by the National Bureau of Enforcement to appoint a manager for 100% shares of Cartu Group, a holding affiliated to Bidzina Ivanishvili, which owns Tbilisi-based Cartu Bank, which has been seized by the authorities and placed under temporary conservatorship after Ivanishvili refused to pay multi-million fine.
The same measure has also been applied to 21.7% shares of Ivanishvili in another Tbilisi-based bank Progress Bank, which was founded by Kakha Kaladze, a retired footballer, who was a captain of the Georgian national team and is now a member of Ivanishvili’s party Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia.
Vladimer Ugulava, a former chairman of board of directors of a Georgian subsidiary of the Ukrainian PrivatBank, has been appointed as the manager of these assets. For few years since 2001 he held senior posts at the Anticorruption Bureau and also served as a member of the National Security Council of Georgia. He is a co-founder and a former president of Tbilisi-based think-tank Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC).
The National Bureau of Enforcement (NBE) put 100% shares of Cartu Bank and 21.7% shares in Progress Bank on auction earlier this month after Ivanishvili refused to pay GEL 74.32 million fine imposed on him in June for alleging violating party funding rules. Ivanishvili says that he is no longer a beneficial owner of Cartu Bank after handing over his shares to his eldest son Uta.
Online auction in which starting price for Cartu Bank was GEL 75.94 million and for 21.7% shares in Progress Bank - GEL 1.78 million, was closed on July 10 without anyone making a bid.
After that NBE announced about imposing, as it put it, “forced management regime” on these assets, saying that the regime, which actually is conservatorship, aims at reclaiming amount of fine which Ivanishvili refused to pay. NBE said that while the debtor will remain owner of the property, “new manger” will enjoy with “all the rights of owner until termination of the forced management regime.”