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UAE’s RAKIA Denies Owning Imedi TV
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 4 Feb.'10 / 14:13

Chief executive of investment arm of UAE’s Ras Al Khaimah emirate has denied that RAKIA or any of its affiliate entities bought shares in Imedi television station, suggesting that confusion over the company’s alleged links to Tbilisi-based TV station was triggered by the name of a company which actually owns majority shares in the station.

“We have nothing to do with that… Why should I buy a TV station in Georgia? It’s a small country. What would I need with a TV station there?” Dr Khater Massaad, the chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), told Abu-Dhabi-based English-language newspaper, The National.

On February 25, 2009, owner of Imedi TV station, Joseph Kay, announced that he sold 90% of Imedi shares to, as he put it, “Rakeen Georgia”, in particular to its affiliate RAK Georgia Holding.

Rakeen Georgia is a Tbilisi-based subsidiary of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority’s (RAKIA) property development arm Rakeen, which is engaged in number of real estate development projects in Georgia.

Dr Khater Massaad, who is also a chief executive of Rakeen and an adviser to Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, also said, according to The National, that the “RAK” brand, which had become synonymous with deep pockets in Georgia, has been co-opted by imitators.

“There is somebody in Georgia who has created his own company with the name RAK Georgia Holding. This company exists indeed. But we have nothing to do with it. The problem is that I have not registered the name RAK as a brand,” he said.

In November, 2009, Transparency International-Georgia released a report on television stations in Georgia, highlighting lack of transparency in ownership of the media sources. The report includes a list of the Georgian television stations and their officially registered owners, obtained from the Georgian National Communications Commission. According to this list, Imedi is 100% owned by Georgian Media Production Group LLC. Attributing to the information obtained from Imedi TV lawyer, the report says that 90% of Georgian Media Production Group LLC is owned by RAAK Georgia Holding S.A. (in the report name of the company is spelled as RAAK and not as RAK) and 10% is owned by Joseph Kay, who is a distant relative of late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili (the founder of Imedi TV), whose family disputes legality of Kay’s ownership of the station.

“The legal structure of Rakeen and its subsidiary, RAAK Georgia Holding, which owns 90% of Imedi, is not transparent and fuels allegations about the involvement of Georgian individuals in this enterprise,” the report reads.

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