Court of Appeal upholds verdict against ex-Minister of Defense of Georgia
David Kezerashvili case
The Court of Appeal upheld a verdict in the case of the ex-Minister of Defense of Georgia and the founder of the TV company Formula, David Kezerashvili, and ordered him to pay the Ministry of Defense 5,060,000 euros in damages.
The decision of the court of appeal is political in nature and is aimed at creating problems for Formula TV, Giorgi Mshvenieradze, Kezerashvili’s lawyer, said.
“I am very sorry that today Themis closed her eyes instead of being attentive, and the court did not take into account our petition to cancel the illegal decision. Let me explain again very simply – all these proceedings were initiated in order to create problems for Formula TV, since David Kezerashvili has no other property that this decision can apply to, except for a controlling stake in the company. And, accordingly, all these proceedings have been launched precisely to withdraw a controlling stake, so the editorial policy of Formula is under pressure from the government,” Mshvenieradze said.
According to Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the Georgian Dream party, “owning a TV station cannot be an indulgence”:
“His money is blood money. This is money earned through robbery and racketeering. He must return five million euros to the state budget, and this is the minimum punishment that can be imposed on him for all the troubles that this person has done in his time. Of course, owning a television station is no excuse for anyone. Otherwise everyone could create their own TV channel at any time.”
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Case of David Kezerashvili
The US Department of State released the 2022 State of Human Rights Report in Georgia, saying that the Ministry of Defense’s lawsuit against Kezerashvili will also affect a critical television companies, because Formula is Kezerashvilia’s only asset.
On March 29, 2022, the Tbilisi City Court ordered Formula founders David Kezerashvili and Alexander Ninua to pay €5,060,000 in compensation to the Ministry of Defense. With this decision, the court fully satisfied the claim of the Georgian Defense Ministry.
The Prosecutor General’s Office accused David Kezerashvili and Alexander Ninua of abuse of power and embezzlement of public funds on a large scale.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the case was related to the transfer of a large amount of money in favor of GIRWOOD BUSINESS CORP, registered in an offshore zone, to provide certain services, although the ministry did not receive these services. However, the testimonies of Kezerashvili’s lawyers confirm the conduct of the exercises – there are video materials and testimonies of witnesses.
The Supreme Court began considering the case two days before the 2021 parliamentary elections.
The Georgian Ministry of Defense demanded compensation for damages caused in a case in which the Supreme Court a few weeks earlier delivered a guilty verdict, sentencing Kezerashvili to five years in prison and thus changed the acquittal of two previous courts.
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When the case was considered, Shalva Tadumadze was the Prosecutor General, who today is a judge of the Supreme Court. He heard the case along with two other judges, Levan Tevzadze and Merab Gabinashvili.
The owner of Formula declared it a shameful decision, “the direct initiator and organizer of which is Ivanishvili’s henchman Irakli Garibashvili.” Kezerashvili stated that the purpose of this case is to blackmail him and his TV channel.
Kezerashvili himself has not been to Georgia since 2012.