TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, listed by Forbes as the world’s 185th richest, could become stateless, after today renouncing his French citizenship too.
A little over two months ago the financier turned politician held triple French-Russian-Georgian citizenship, but after getting entangled in politics he has had to hand in two of them to get back the Georgian one, which he needs to form a political party.
Mr Ivanishvili was robbed of his Georgian citizenship by President Saakashvili on grounds of a prohibition on double citizenships, and recently lost a court case to reclaim it.
Three days ago he renounced his Russian citizenship, and today also his French, formally handing in the application to the French embassy in Georgia.
Now set to become a stateless person, Ivanishvili appeals to Georgian officials to give him back his Georgian citizenship.
“The European convention foresees that if a person renounces any of a European country’s citizenship he cannot remain without any citizenship. I appeal to Georgian official structures to grant me Georgian citizenship, because I don’t have citizenship of any other country,” Bidzina Ivanishvili stated today after he left the French embassy.
He says he has born in Georgia and has lived here for the last ten years, and ‘they don’t have grounds to refuse’.
But for the time being he will remain a French citizen pending a decision in Tbilisi. The French foreign ministry will wait until he is granted Georgian citizenship, and then revoke his French citizenship, the businessman says.
While Tbilisi City Court denied Ivanishvili himself to get back the citizenship he most wants, it granted his wife citizenship, a decision which was seen as somewhat of a victory by the businessman’s lawyers.
His lawyers are now going to appeal the decision to the supreme court.