TBILISI, DFWatch – After Georgian authorities took over Cartu Bank in a criminal forfeiture process, the interim manager has fired the entire old management.
Vladmer Ugulava, who now controls the bank on behalf of the government, yesterday fired both the supervisory board and the board of directors — ten people in total.
Cartu Bank, which is affiliated with the opposition billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, was seized by order of Tbilisi City Court. The ruling said to seize all 100 percent of Ivanishvili’s shares in Cartu Bank and his 21 percent share in Progress Bank.
The reason for the seizure is that the unofficial leader of Georgian Dream was fined about USD 45 million for illegal financing of his opposition movement – a criminal offense — but refuses to pay, because he considers the fine illegal.
After being seized, the property was put up for auction, but there were no buyers, so the National Enforcement Bureau requested to appoint a compulsory manager to take control of the seized stakes in the two companies.
They chose Vladimer Ugulava, President of the International Center for Economy Policy Research, who used to be a member of the supervisory board of the insurance company Aldagi BCI and also has chaired TAO Private Bank.
Until the compulsory management process is finished, the newly appointed manager holds all the owner’s rights, but the property remains in the ownership of the debtor.
Among those fired was Nodar Javakhishvili, the former general director of the bank. Financier Irakli Zarkua was appointed in his place. He is Chair of the Revision Service at the National Bank.
Javakhishvili says he was informed of his dismissal by letter mail.
“It’s unimaginable to fire all important persons simultaneously. We have never seen Ugulava. With this act, the government has finished its 9 year fight against Cartu Bank,” Javakhishvili said.
Soon after Bidzina Ivanishvili released an open letter setting out his political goals in October, 2011, Cartu Bank was the target of a police raid of a money transport, in which two million dollars and one million euro in cash were seized. The six employees who were arrested suspected of money laundering, were later released, and all the cash was returned, without the case ever moving to trial.