We would like to respond to the footage broadcasted by Adjara TV on January 12th of the current year, containing defamatory allegations and misleading facts in relation to Silk Road Group and its founder, Mr. Giorgi Ramishvili.
Silk Road Group has implemented several successful development projects in Georgia, including the Radisson hotel brand in Tbilisi and Batumi, multifunctional complex “Republic” in Tbilisi, hotel “Radisson Collection” in Tsinandali. The said projects were planned and implemented with the support of globally well-known architects, designers and other teams of high-level professionals. All details were considered and implementation of the projects was ensured professionally and with high quality. In addition, harmonic coexistence with the environment and sustainability were the main priority. As a result of such an approach, the projects carried out by Silk Road Group have won multiple international awards and contributed to the growth of touristic potential and popularisation of Georgia.
Silk Road Group is a serious investor, with up to USD 1 billion investment made in different sectors of Georgian economy during the last 12 years. Our investments in Adjara region have exceeded USD 100 million.
Regarding misleading information broadcasted in the footage of Adjara TV: the territory of Riviera in Batumi was acquired in May of 2006 through the auction organized by the tax authority. GEL 10,086,000 was paid to the state (equivalent to USD 5.6 million using the exchange rate prevailing at that time). Furthermore, our company repaid more than USD 2.5 million to 2 creditors of the state. Respectively, saying that we have purchased this property unconditionally is an intentional act of misleading the public.
It was planned to construct Trump Tower at the location, however, the project could not be implemented due to different objective circumstances. Currently, we have a new project that considers the construction of six buildings with different functionalities, green façade, and green podiums. Implementation of the said project will significantly increase the touristic potential of Batumi. Silk Road Group and its founder, Mr. Giorgi Ramishvili have held several meetings with the Adjarian community, non-governmental bodies, media representatives (including Adjara TV), leaders of Autonomous Republic of Adjara and Batumi City Hall to discuss the project. Many questions were answered at the meetings and detailed explanations were provided. These meetings were organized with the initiative of our Group for Batumi population and all interested persons, to provide detailed information about the project; however, we did not have any legal or other liability to do so. The master plan of the project was developed by the leading architectural design and planning company “Chapman Taylor”, which operates in compliance with the highest standards in its field. Our Group takes into account the unique nature of Batumi Riviera territory and, according to the developed plan, 1 ha land plot is allocated to each building ensuring more than sufficient distance between the buildings. Even in the most developed countries, it is very rare for the investor to exploit the territory in such form. Furthermore, the project considers the arrangement of the park at the 2 ha area, which will make this project unique.
Regarding unsubstantiated allegations that Silk Road Group purchased facilities from the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and then did not develop them, or the statement that the Group did not properly treat IDPs – this information is false. Our company has purchased the shares and, respectively, land plots owned by the state-owned companies – JSC “Adjara Resorts” and JSC “Meskheti” from the Government of Autonomous Republic of Adjara with the investment provision. We paid USD 4 million to the state budget and USD 13.5 million in the form of compensation to IDPs. We have indemnified all IDP families and Silk Road Group did not force anyone to flee their homes. This was the state obligation. Our company dismantled old, unattractive and amortized soviet buildings where IDPs had to live in severe living conditions for years. We have freed the coastal area from ruins and garbage that has accumulated over time. The financial crisis and the war of 2008 have prevented us from full compliance with investment liabilities, however, all investors had serious problems. Soon after termination of military actions Silk Road Group completed 2 important projects: one in Tbilisi, Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel and another one in Batumi with hotel Radisson Blu brand.
As for the bank mentioned in your footage – “BTA Bank” and defamatory allegations against the said bank, we would like to mention that the owners of Kazakhstan-based BTA Bank arrived in Georgia in 2005 and expressed their desire to invest in our country. Despite the fact that the relevant financing agreements were concluded between BTA Bank and Silk Road Group, the Bank stopped the fulfillment of its obligations after the war of 2008. As for non-disclosure of the information about the mortgages: it is unclear what the non-disclosure of the mortgage means since the information about mortgage, as well as real estate is public in Georgia and its accessibility is guaranteed by the Public Registry. Silk Road Group completed negotiations with BTA Bank in 2014 and actually, had to repurchase the same assets again. Therefore, all mortgages were annulled. Land plots located on 18 cadastral units were returned to the state, which was planned in any case. The price of the land plots returned to the state is significantly higher than originally, because the old, amortized buildings on the land plots were dismantled, territories cleaned and all obligations repaid.
Silk Road Group is ready to protect its reputation from the distribution of such false and defamatory information.