TBC Bank co-founder Khazaradze goes ahead with Georgia political project

By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest August 23, 2019

Mamuka Khazaradze, a co-founder of Georgia’s TBC Bank, has confirmed that despite the harassment he claims to be subject to from authorities—moves of which have lately included the seizing of his bank accounts in relation to a prosecution for alleged money laundering crimes that date back to 2008—he is going ahead with the founding of a new political vehicle. He said he would present the new movement to the public in September.

It would be a “completely new force” not based on former politicians but rather young professionals, Khazaradze stated, avoiding the use of the word “party” too often.

Ahead of the scheduled general election in 2020, Khazaradze’s entity is expected to capitalise on voters’ disappointment with the policies of the incumbent Georgian Dream party led by ex-PM and oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili and the aggressive rhetoric of the United National Movement (UNM) of former president and self-exiled Mikheil Saakashvili. The validity of the money laundering investigation might or might not prove legally grounded, but the probe is certainly not an obstacle for Khazaradze and his political plans. It is rather the opposite given the decreasing credibility of the authorities with voters.

"We continue to fight for setting up the movement and party. As I promised the community, this will happen in September. Many young professionals are joining us. These will not be the leaders of an old political party, either from there or from here. It will be a completely new force, " said Khazaradze.

Among his political partners might be Fadi Asli, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia. In an unprecedented move, Asli openly criticised Ivanishvili, suggesting his involvement in politics is imminent.

“What I would suggest though is that you read less philosophy and more history, so you discover for yourself how dictators end,” Asly said in an open letter sent to Ivanishvili and quoted by InterPressMedia.ge.

“Under your watch, the national currency has weakened against the American dollar from 1.62 to 2.92. Under your watch, total direct foreign investment decreased to the level of the year 2006. Under your watch, criminality has increased to such an extent that in certain areas of the city people are now scared to walk at night in the streets. Under your watch, corruption has exploded, and we read every day in the press the name of new government officials arrested for corrupt deals, probably for having turned their back on you,” Asly’s open letter added.

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