We have had access to lots of interviews and news reports recently. This is from the last public statement made by FRR on 24th June -
"We wish to be clear that no legal basis exits whatsoever for cancellation of our contract with the Government of Georgia. The Deputy Minister’s continued insistence to the contrary is simply wrong and we ask that the Government of Georgia cease and desist from the continued threats, harassment and intimidation of our business and its employees. Any attempt to arbitrarily cancel, terminate or otherwise occupy and seize by force the oil and gas operations of our company, is an illegal, criminal act of expropriation and will be treated as such."
Almost immediately after this statement Zaza appears on a number of TV shows, Senator Mullins gets involved again, and then the Sanctions Bill gets Committee approval.
Almost all comments from FRR / Zaza are in reaction to an event. They react to the Award, the termination, the public 'olive branch' from the Minister and DM (FRR only revealed after the fact that informal ministerial-level contact had already taken place). The implied threat of more legal action is still a reaction but is also one of the few times FRR have been direct and shown potential next steps.
Meanwhile as Mole says, the clock is ticking down.
I think we need the other side to once again "blink first" before we get any new info.
Hi Earsbern, I agree the pushback on dates is good news. I just re-read your earlier post and I think I originally focused on Pt.6 which I read to mean discovery etc hadn't started - "has been hindered" - but on re-reading I can see "hindered" in a different light.
Hi toatie, Mole is correct, Hope was covered by an FRC insurance policy. We found this out as Hope sued for the costs (as the insurance company tried to deny liability) and he was successful. Here is part of the writ -
"10. In July 2018, FRC obtained an Advanced Board Company Protection Insurance Policy from Hiscox, Policy N0. B1636N1 81678 for the July 13, 2018 t0 July 13, 2019 policy period (the “Hiscox Policy”), that provided coverage for FRC’S directors, such as Mr. Hope, for any actual or alleged act, error, omission, misstatement, misleading statement, neglect or breach of duty."
If you go to my posts of 10th June who can see all the court documents.
WHamboy - yes its very quiet. Outside of our BB we also have the translator on lookout, so I don't think we are missing anything.
Hopefully RR's storm analogy is right. We are just entering typhoon season here, so we get to know a lot about how storms work. When the storm is raging and it suddenly goes quiet - don't be fooled, its far from over - It just means the next bands will probably be even more intense!
The power to restrict mobility and stop gathering could impact the election.
"Government will be entitled to take restrictive measures without declaring national emergency until the end of 2020
The Parliament has approved the amendment in Law on Public Health according to which, the government becomes entitled to take restrictive measures without declaring a national emergency until the end of 2020.
According to the amendment, the government will have the right to take quarantine measures such as restricting mobility, economic activity, limiting the right of proprietorship, gathering, labor, etc., until January 1 2021 instead of 15 July."
Title - "Int'l experts praise steps taken by Georgian gov't to improve business environment, increase investment attractiveness"
Article - International economists delivered a presentation on the global pandemic and its aftermath on the economy to the Georgian government today, saying the steps taken by the Georgian government to improve the business environment and increase investment attractiveness are 'right and important', announces the government of Georgia.
Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava and the prime minister's advisor for economics Beka Liluashvili attended the videoconference with the foreign economists together with local experts and representatives from the analytical centres today.
The meeting highlighted that global processes have created a new opportunity to mobilise foreign direct investment in Georgia, the use of which is of great importance and the Georgian government says it will spare no effort to attract more foreign investment and create new jobs.
With the support of USAID, a group of international experts give recommendations to the government of Georgia on various areas of economic policy, such as fiscal economic policy, sectoral, monetary policy. We are holding meetings with Georgian experts, representatives of analytical and research organisations to discuss the recommendations developed by international experts in each of these areas", said Liluashvili.
Liluashvili said that one of the recommendations of the experts is for the government to continue efforts to develop the labour force in the country, digitalisation, e-governance and improve the investment and business environment.
The Managing Director at Galt & Taggart Otar Sharikadze said after the meeting that 'it is very important that we see openness between the government and the private sector regarding the exchange of views'.
Director of Tbilisi State University Center for Analysis and Forecasting Vakhtang Charaia said that it is 'noteworthy that international experts praise the work of the government in many areas and agree on many things'. He said that initial meetings are being held at this stage, as a result of which the recommendations will be further clarified.
Georgian National Consultant at the United Nations Giorgi Abashishvili said that 'this is a first and and very good precedent, when Georgian economists, together with high-ranking foreign economists, discuss common views, which will bring results after a certain period of time'.
He has sent me the following interview witch was uploaded 5 days ago and is an interview regarding FRR with another opposition MP (no Zaza). My feeling is the comments will likely be in line with the translation I just posted, but I have asked the translator if he thinks there is anything different. This is the article and the video link
"Zurab Japaridze, the leader of "Girchi" responded to the statement of Zaza Mamulashvili, the director of "Frontera" on "Palitranius", where it is said that the business environment in Georgia is unfavorable for American investments, and the government is doing nothing to correct it.
The leader of "Girchi" once again noted that the country has an informal ruler and businessmen have to enter into informal relations with Ivanishvili, on which no serious company will go.
According to him, no one believes that there are democratic institutions in the country and no one has the feeling that the "Georgian Dream" has the resources to create democratic institutions.
Does anyone believe that there is any institution in this country that is not controlled by Ivanishvili? If there is an institution in this country, it is clear that everything is controlled by Ivanishvili. Does anyone doubt this? Even among the supporters of the dream, there is no one who doubts this.
As for the messages sent by US senators, Japaridze believes that nothing new has been said about the Georgian Dream in these signals, and criticism of the Georgian government has long been heard from Western institutions, the media or specific politicians.
According to the politician, these messages are for the 2020 parliamentary elections to be held in normal conditions, for which the Western partners are also preparing, and most likely we will have an unprecedented number of observers in these elections.
Pt.14 (and final part)
Zaza - First of all, I would add a fourth to these 3 directions, which cannot be ignored. This is a global act of Magnitsky sanctions. So that is a very important document and lots of people from different countries are included in this list. And, which is also related to corruption, undemocratic actions, business takeovers, etc. And it is very difficult to say in what direction it will develop, because so far we have not seen any steps taken by the Georgian Dream government to somehow improve this relationship. And, how should this be done? You have to hold democratic elections. A democratic environment must be created before democratic elections can take place. A good judiciary should be established, at least the judiciary should not be used as a tool for various purposes. People should be able to work freely, create more wealth, employ more people and generate more income for people living in Georgia. Here, if all this does not happen, then all these 4 directions have the prospect of developing in a rather strict way. I would add one more. Nodar explained and was very right. By the way, Plakhatniuk tried and worked intensively with the United States administration. Tried to convince them that his government was on the right track. In contrast, Mr. Ivanishvili, for example, never visited the United States, even during his tenure as prime minister. By the way, Mr. Gakharia has never visited America during his tenure as Prime Minister. Two prime ministers of Georgian Dream. If the Georgian Dream did not want to and, for example, I do not see the resource for what can happen in the next 3 months, it could end in a very tragic result not only for senior and former officials, but also for other participants.
(J1) - Thank you very much. Nodar Kharshiladze and Zaza Mamulaishvili were our guests. We have been discussing the unprecedented decision of the United States and still hope that the United States will not need to take such measures on a strategic partner that will be harmful for the Georgian people in the first place. The "Guest of the Day" is over. Goodbye
(J1) - So, what is happening in black sea…
(NK) - On the other side, USA has Romania and Bulgaria, but they dont have anyone on the other side. Therefore, they need Georgia for that. The whole idea of Anaklia was that it should have been a strategic port. I am sure this project will definitely be done in Georgia. And, all this is prevented by one political force led by one person. This person is mentioned several times by name. Again, a relationship with Putin is considered a very big sin in America. However, it is still believed that you can talk to the Russians sometimes, but today less and less. Iran is a taboo subject. Red line. No one in America would say, when Trump was coming, why we could not settle with Iran. Such a thing is out of the question. With Russia, it is possible that if the next president is changed, "let's be a little warmer," because it is still considered a rational state. Iran is a gangster state that sponsors terrorists. Do you know the principe of USA? If he is convinced that this is the case, he will not start proving anything. Sanctions are imposed directly, and it is up to you to prove you are right. This is not a court, it is a political process. The burden of proof is on you to prove it wrong and it will take you a very long time and it is absolutely impossible. That’s why I said that in the case of Plahotniuc, these were just limited sanctions. Here, if it continues like this, the process could become irreversible and, institutionally, America, despite the goodwill that it does not want the de facto leader of an allied country to be sanctioned, can no longer stop it. What is our goal? And, here I want to finish my part. Our task is as follows. For me, of course, in the story of prestige, it’s not nice when my government, as an ally of America, is sanctioned, but we’ll move on to that again. We, as citizens of Georgia, have the main duty not to inflict damage on the country due to the recklessness of the Georgian Dream. That is our main task. Therefore, we should work as much as possible here. We are trying to find a solution in terms of business, but the main problem is that as long as they remain in power, if this continues, 15%, 20 million, will be deducted from Georgia. Therefore, it is very unfortunate all this.
(J1) - Thank you, Nodar. We have to finish. I would like to ask Mr. Zaza to summarize, 3 areas have been identified: the Markwayne Mullin Sanctions Bill, the Jim Risch Initiative and the bipartisan act. What is the situation today and what could be the result of this unprecedented pressure so as not to harm the Georgian people?
(J1) - In an exclusive interview with Markwayne Mullin yesterday, we asked, "What does he see and who does he see in Putin's ally?" In his letter, he directly wrote to Bidzina Ivanishvili, but we noticed in the interview that he did not try to name Georgian names and surnames and said that this was a matter of confrontation between the United States and Russia. And apparently he did not want to go into so much detail about specific Georgian rulers. Is it so important in Russian-American relations who will be superpower? The Georgian-Russian war is going on here. How do you view this process and does this sentiment mean it too?
(NK) - This matters how Washington is looking at the process. Washington sees this way - Georgia has the second largest per capita investment from USA in the world after Israel. Too many American money is invested in Georgia. Nevertheless, the United States played a major role in establishing Georgia as a state from an undeveloped country, followed by the events of 2004, 2005, 2006, rapid reform, then government elections, and some elements of statehood. Georgia is an example of gradually bringing the countries of the former Soviet Union into a democratic orbit. Of course, Russia is not included here, first we are talking about the Moldovan-type state, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, etc. Today, the Georgia in which they invest, some guys are starting to cooperate with very bad enemies of the United States and are actively cooperating against the United States. It was a little shocking at first. Was it clear, is the position of the country such or that of these people? It turned out that the position of the country is not like that. Most of the country remains an ally of the United States. But if this is the problem of these people, then this probem can be solved easily. We need to get rid of them from the active policital life. And, they will not sacrifice 30 years investment in the country to the Russian oligarch, because America needs Georgia in this region. When they have tough relationship with Turkey, when Russia has taken Crimea. This is chess principe.
(J1) - As I have seen actively investigated in the American media, there have been journalists and numerous articles on this topic in relation to Iran and I would like to ask Mr. Zaza what is happening in relation to Iran and why is this such a red line? To explain this to our viewers, and what kind of relationship is there with Iran that is causing such irritation in the United States? And the topic of China has also rolled in. We recalled Pompeo's statement, which was published two years ago, in the first program, when he told Mamuka Bakhtadze that the port should be built and before that the Russian and Chinese interests are expressed against American interests. What kind of interest is this to explain geopolitically, Iran, China, Russia. What's going on?
Zaza - This issue was perfectly described by Senators Cruz and Cornyn in their communication, which was sent to the Secretary of State and the Minister of Finance of United State, where they said that "Georgia cooperates with the rivals and enemies of the United States”. This trio includes Russia, which is a growing power and is working very hard to destabilize the United States. This is China, where, a couple of weeks ago, 2 aircrafts were sent by the United States to the China Sea. And, this is Iran. Relations between Iran, China, and especially Iran and Russia, are particularly dangerous for the United States. Because, as they found the definition, Iran is a state that sponsors terrorism, and even Russia is already spotted in this case. For example, a base has been opened in St. Petersburg, where Russia trains fascists and even Germans as a terrorist organization. And, all of this with Iran, these forces are aimed at destabilizing the United States and undermining the political roots of the United States. To add even more details, in the Middle East, for example in North Africa, it even went so far that Russia was helping the fighters of the Islamic Republic with its air force. In practice, Russia assisted terrorists with air power against American units. They helped the regime in Libya, which observers say is worse than the Islamic Republic. Funds and assists Hamas, creates an unstable environment in the United States itself, and seeks to influence elections. And all of this, along with Iran, is, of course, a strategic and important issue for the United States. And, Georgia, which if you had asked the Georgian Dream years ago, they should not have appeared on the radar at all, especially between the United States and Russia. But now we are in the middle these countries. This was managed by Georgian Dream.
(NK) contd - This year, the Russians, whose country is collapsing are mobilized not to be imposed more sanctions now because of the new constitution, they do not need anything more, they are no longer interested in mentioning Bidzina Ivanishvili, Russia is interested in Georgia`s failure. If they declare independent political center like Hugo Chavez, and then will make a speech on UN summit claiming that both Moscow and New York are satans, I don’t think that this road will lead to the success. I may be wrong, the problem is, first of all, trust. Gaining trust is very difficult both in human relations and in politics. In America, the Georgian Dream has lost trust, as it has lost the same trust with the Georgian population - with promises that it did not fulfill, not a single promise. Here, they asked about “Frontera” case, and declared that everything was settled. This was such a silly lie. They could check it within 15 minutes. They called and got the truth real quickly
(J1) - Not only was “Frontera” there. There was also Conti Group, Iconia Capital, Georgian Marnganese.
(NK) - They said that there are 200 companies operating in Georgia, and when they asked for it next time, this number increased to 300. They increased it by 100, within 3 months. I went through the list and saw one of the television channel, I wont name anyone but this was POS TV which was indicated as American investition in Georgia. Who will you trust after this? This can be easily checked with Internet and Google.
(J1) - Risch amendment. What is it called? We called the sanction
(NK) - These are sanctions. We talked about this a lot. The case against political persons, Bidzina Ivanishvili, is not the easy one. It requires the political will. If we look at Ilham Aliev, there is different kind of democracy…
(J1) - But there is different approach, I don’t think that Ilham Aliev could have said so many lies.
(NK) - This is difficult political process. The process will began from the lower level. As it was in the case of one of the city of Lithuania, Daugava, which mayor was imposed the sanctions. And the second case was, mayor of Riga, which had Russian mayor. There is also the second way, which does not require the political will. This is Iran case. In the file which is signed by Ted Cruz, is indicated that when you can somehow justify the trade with Russia, you cant do the same with Iran. If Bidzina Ivanishvili is proved to have relationships with Iran, the sanctions will be automatically imposed on him.
(J1) - What is the purpose? I want to ask this
Zaza - By the way, yesterday the Georgian Dream, Georgia's ambassador to the United States, countless lobbyists, hired by the Georgian government, tried all day to knock on every door in the administration and Congress to make sure that such a text was not included in the bill. All was in vain. In addition, a lobbyist should not do it, an official should do it, for example, when Zalkaniani became Foreign Minister in January if I am not mistaken, if at the end of the year, in the United States, I think in December last year
(J1) - There was a letter in December and then he went to America
Zaza - The speaker of the parliament was also there. The only thing America talked to lawmakers about was not how to improve the investment climate or how to hold democratic elections, or how not to use the court as a weapon against political or commercial business. the only thing they talked about was because our soldiers are fighting with American soldiers in Afghanistan. Let’s not criticize and live in friendship. The only topic of conversation was that because our soldiers are fighting alongside American soldiers in support of Afghanistan, so let’s not criticize us and live in friendship. Here, when you only have this on the agenda and you only want to express yourself only with such narrative, it will not have much perspective in this relationship.
(J1) - I am wondering, it is happening deliberately, it is the fault of incompetence, but we already see that the Georgian Dream has been in power for eight years now, or the ninth, it is impossible not to learn from its own experience, right? It is impossible, they have good advisors, if there is already a choice on the other side.
(NK) - No no, maybe both are, there is no limit to stupidity, Einstein said that infinity and human stupidity are not measured, so that's really the case. Looking at them and what their reactions are, it's bad for their health, and if you understand them, they often behave like fools. As for the alternative, last year Bidzina Ivanishvili had an opportunity to meet Americans and tell them that “Do not push me, otherwise as we are positioned geopolitically well, we might let the Russian in”.
(J1) - We often hear that Markwayne Mullin is “Frontera`s” lobbyist. His outrage and his harsh and critical statements are related to this. Do you think this business topic turned out to be a defining issue for a Texas group and, in fact, we got the fact that the Georgian Dream also has ties to America and the opposition as well. But now it turns out that the main circle of critics are the people from whom the government did not expect any attack at all.
Zaza - First of all, this is a lie. Malin is not a lobbyist of “Frontera”. This is an illegal act in the United States, a congressman cannot be a lobbyist for a company and it is punishable by law, so that when Georgia, Georgian politicians deliberately spread it, it is part of their misinformation and has nothing to do with the truth. And, as far as this text and this new law are concerned, by the way, the leading place in this case was held not by the Republicans in Texas, but by the Democrats, where numerous congressmen from the Republican Party were involved, and even more from the Democratic side. And the chairman of this subcommittee and the appropriation committee, which was considering this text at this point, was precisely the Democrat. So it has nothing to do with lobbying and bias.
(J1) - Ok, and …
(NK) - I wonder… “Frontera” has its congressman. Bokeria, who is in the minority in the parliament, turns out to be the friend of the head of the Risch staff and he decides. And, they are in power and what kind of incompetent the one should be if you cant find any congressman for their defence? After this, I watched the subcommittee hearing where this topic is happening.
(J1) - Yes talk about where it was going
(NK) - There are many topics in brief, the whole package was foreign aid. Nobody has voted on our topic, nobody, they are such a government, with a man owning 7 billion.
(J1) - Do we spend a lot of money on lobbying?
(NK) - They spend so much money and why nobody, any important member of the US legislature, is not coming out and saing that “No, it`s just a business" First of all
(J1) - One of 435
(NK) - That man is told that he is a lobbist of Frontera, he is also told that he is criminal. The head of the Risch staff was said that he was Bokeria`s friend, he was also accused of being criminal. If the goal of the Georgian Dream is to turn everyone in America who is smart and thoughtful against them, then they are doing it quite well.
The translator has already marked out the speakers for the remainder of the file and, if the file is complete it looks like Zaza just speaks 2 or 3 more times. Most of the conversation is with Nodar Kharshiladze who "Since the year 2005, was appointed as a Head of Defence Policy and Planning department. From 2009 to 2012 he worked as First Deputy Defence Minister."
He is also Head of Georgian Centre For Strategic Analysis, which held the press conference with Zaza and Seth Char (translation #12)