In 2012 government wrote off up to GEL 20 million from Rustavi 2, Imedi and PIK debts
In October, after 2012 Parliamentary elections, based on Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili’s orders up to GEL 20 million have been written off from the debts of Teleimedi LLC, Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2 LLC and TV-Company PIK LLC. The given information was provided by the Ministry of Finance to media.ge on 5 February 2013.
Letter received from the Ministry of Finance reads that for 8 August 2012 Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company had the debt of GEL 5,243,000; although based on 20 August 2012 (order #1199) and 12 October 2012 (order #1445) orders by the Prime Minister of Georgia Vano Merabishvili, the tax agreement was signed and Rustavi 2 debt to cut down to GEL 400,000.
According to 20 August 2012 (order # 1200) and 12 October 2012 (order #1447) orders by the Prime Minister of Georgia tax agreement was signed with Teleimedi (Imedi TV) also. Teleimedi debt of GEL 13,862,000 (as of 7 August 2012) was cut down to GEL 300,000. It is noteworthy that in 4 days after the debt was written off Teleimedi was returned to Badri Patarkatsishvili’s family. They paid symbolic GEL 1 to each of 4 co-owners of Imedi.
According to 16 October 2012 order by the Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili the GEL 1,501,000 debt of TV-Company PIK LLC debt cut down to GEL 5,000, which the management company of the third, Russian-language channel of the Public Broadcater had until 15 October 2012. In the same month the Russian-language TV-Company and radio PIK of the Public Broadcaster were shut down and up to 400 employees were dismissed.
29 October 2012 owner of PIK LLC also changed. 60% of the Company shares were handed over to Shveissa LLC created 4 days before that. Shveissa founder and Director is Darius Jurgelevicius. He is a citizen of Lithuania. According to Lithuanian media (Irytas.lt) Jurgelevicius is former adviser to former Interior Minister of Georgia Vano Merabishvili. According to Liberali magazine, after October Parliamentary elections Merabishvili granted a bonus to Jurgelevicius.
2010 Financial Amnesty
Ministry of Finance also provided to media.ge the list of TV-Companies which were freed from tax liabilities accumulated by 1 March 2010. The then debts were written off for TV-Companies according to the 2004 22 December Tax Code Article 281, Part 211. Initiative for financial amnesty came from President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. President said at 1 March 2010 plenary session of Parliament that he was going to announce financial amnesty for all regional televisions of Georgia. Despite that, finally, during spring sessions of 2010 Parliament adopted a law according to which amnesty affected both regional and national broadcasters. From the amnestied GEL 36 million (USD 21 million) the share of regional televisions was only GEL 2 million.
At that time the government wrote off approximately GEL 12,311,959 from the Public Broadcaster debt; GEL 20,140,581 from Rustavi 2 debt; GEL 593,193 from TV-Company Mze debt; GEL 643,687 from Batumi TV-25 debt and GEL 47,847 from Gori TV-Company Trialeti.
In total previous government has written off up to GEL 55 million from the televisions’ debts, including GEL 24,983,688 from Rustavi 2 debt; Imedi TV – GEL 15,119,083.
Please see 5 February response (in Georgian) from the Ministry of Finance to media.ge on the writing off of debts of televisions. You can also see Annex on stop of tax debts as of 1 March 2012.
TV Companies’ Budgetary Arrears at the Beginning of 2013
Ministry of Finance Gets Concerned into Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV Tax Amnesties