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.