The family of the late tycoon, Badri Patarkatsishvili will step up efforts in Tbilisi next week to reclaim its interests in Imedi TV and Mtatsminda Park, the Patarkatsishvili family said in a statement released by its press office on October 24.
“Family members, supported by a legal mission and economic advisers, will intensify legal efforts to return the assets to their rightful owners,” the statement reads.
It says that details of the efforts will become available at a news conference in Tbilisi on October 28.
The family claims that Patarkatsishvili’s distant relative, Joseph Kay, has “unlawfully taken” Imedi TV station from the Patarkatsishvili family.
Kay said in March that he had bought shares in Imedi TV and radio from Gogi Jaoshvili “simply by paying money.” Jaoshvili, reportedly a former close friend of Patarkatsishvili's, owned 70% of JMG, a company with a 65% stake in I-Media, which has total ownership of Imedi TV and radio. According to papers submitted to the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) by Imedi TV in December, the remaining 35% of I-Media shares are owned by Universal, a firm founded by three relatives of Patarkatsishvili's.
Inna Gudavadze, Patarkatsishvili's widow, said in March that the Georgian government was trying to take over Imedi with the help of “imposters.” Kay, however, denied allegations that the authorities were in fact behind the deal.
As far as Mtatsminda Park is concerned, the asset was seized by the Georgian authorities on November 7, 2007 from Lynx Ltd, a company then wholly owned by Patarkatsishvili, after Tbilisi city municipality canceled a 49-year leasing contract with the company, claiming that Lynx Ltd had “violated numerous times” the terms of the contract. The company, however, denied the allegations and suggested that the move was politically-motivated.
It was announced in July, 2008 that Rakeen, the real estate development arm of the UAE’s Ras Al Khaimah emirate, had taken over the Mtatsminda amusement park. Rakeen Georgia has confirmed that it signed an agreement with the Tbilisi city municipality in June to lease the park for a 49-year term.
“The family seeks the return of Imedi and is committed to restoring it as a free and independent source of news for Georgia,” a Patarkatsishvili family spokesman said in a statement. “The family also seeks the return of Mtatsminda Park and is prepared to resume its development into a world-class attraction for Georgia that Badri had envisioned.”
The spokesman also said that the family planned to meet privately with international community representatives during a visit to Tbilisi “and will pursue further legal measures to secure the family’s interests in these crucial Georgian businesses.”