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Saakashvili Visits Disputed Amusement Park
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 4 Mar.'09 / 18:02

The Mtatsminda park, one of the hallmarks of Tbilisi overlooking the capital, will be reopened in April, seventeen months after it was closed down by the authorities.

The park, which was once operated by late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili’s firm, Lynx Ltd, is now controlled by UAE’s RAS Al Khaimah (RAK) emirate’s real estate developer, Rakeen Georgia.

President Saakashvili, who visited the part on March 4, said that years ago, when he decided to lease the park “it was not right decision.” “Because the park remained closed for several years and people could not enter into the park,” he said. “This is one of the best amusement parks in the world.”

The Mtatsminda park was initially leased for 49 years by Lynx Ltd and according to the company it had invested USD 25 million in the development of amusement park before it was closed down on November 7, 2007 – the day when the police break up anti-governmental protest rallies, supported by Patarkatsishvili. The Tbilisi municipality cited violation of leasing terms behind the seizure of the property – the allegation denied by Lynx Ltd. In September, 2007, the renovated park with new amusement installations had so called ‘soft opening’ according to its former operator company the park hosted about 80,000 visitors before it was close down.

In July 2008 Rakeen Georgia signed an agreement with the Tbilisi city municipality on leasing the park for a 49-year term on condition of payment of GEL 300,000 per annum to the municipality. RAK Georgia Holding to which Rakeen Georgia is an affiliate company, took over majority shares of the Imedi radio and TV holding - the asset ownership of which is also claimed by the Patarkatsishvili family.

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