Web Portal on Human Rights in Georgia

Former Director of the First Stereo Claims the Bezhuashvilis Stand Behind the New Director



Former Director of First Stereo and Stereo Plus David Zilfimian is unable to enter the TV-Company building.  Security Company guards hired by the new Director General of the TV-Company Vasil Kobaidze do not allow Zilfimian to enter the Company premises.  The security guards appeared at the Company premises at 4 a.m. 19 May.

According to Davit Zilfimian, on 18 May Vasil Kobaidze willfully and unlawfully occupied the post of Director.  Zilfimian is also surprised with the fact how fast the changes have been registered in the Public Registry without notification to any other shareholders.

Giorgi Kavlashvili, Vasil Kobaidze’s representative claims the opposite. At the 19 May press-conference Kavlashvili stated that Director General of the First Stereo “was changed according to the legislation and public regulations.”

The new director claims the First Stereo must resume its regular rhythm of work. “Vasil Kobaidze will find the best way to regulate relations with the First Stereo staff and to return the Company to the regular rhythm of work.  This is his will and he will do everything to achieve the goal,” Giorgi Kavlashvili, Kobaidze’s representative stated in front of the First Stereo TV-Company building 19 May.

By 2 p.m. Kavlashvili toured the TV-Company building, made the statement and left the territory.  He clarified that Vasil Kobaidze, owner of the 65% of the First Stereo shares, appointed himself to the post of Director according to the law.

“The TV-Company Statute says that owner of the majority of shares has right to make the decision; the same is said in the Law on Entrepreneurship.  Vasil Kobaidze owns most, the 65% of shares of the TV-Company, so his decision is legal,” Kavlashvili stated.

For the moment the First Stereo building is controlled by the Mglebi Security Company guards.  Before Kavlashvili’s arrival they made all the employees of the First Stereo to leave the premises.  Part of employees spent whole night in the TV-Company’s building.

On 18 May it was reported that Vasil Kobaidze dismissed David Zilfimian from the post of the First Stereo Director.  Later it was reported that Kobaidze occupied the position himself. Zilfimian told media.ge that Kobaidze’s acts illegally because none of his partners in the TV-Company were informed about his decision. The meeting of shareholders was scheduled for May 28.

“It is confusing for me why Kobaidze made such a decision in haste and how the changes were introduced to the Registration Agency in such a short time.  His actions are unjustified by our Statute and general ethical norms.  We, the partners, should have had information about his intention,” Zilfimian said.

First Stereo has 4 founders.  David Zilfimian owns 22% of the broadcaster shares.  Owner of 10% of shares is a citizen of Italy Marco Kupoletti and 3% by another citizen of Italy – Luca Severini.  Businessman Vasil Kobaidze became the owner of 65% of First Stereo and First Radio (FM 106.4) radio-station on 30 December 2011.  Geogian Industrial Group gave up the 65% of shares to Kobaidze.  100% of the Georgian Industrial Group shares is owned by the Chemexim International, a Company registered at Marshal Islands.  Robert Bezhuashvili, father of MP David Bezhuashvili and Foreign Intelligence Department Head Gela Bezhuashvili is the Director of the given offshore Company.

David Zilfimian believes that Kobaidze acts in the name of David Bezhuashvili and Bezhuashvili was the one who conducted illegal actions against him together with the Ministry of Justice.  David Zilfimian decided to reregister his property to his son  including the 22% share in the First Stereo and 100% share in Stereo Plus, although the lien was put on his property.  David Zilfimian claims the problems came after Stereo Plus signed a contract with the Ninth Channel.

“Stereo Plus is a service company and cooperates with different TV-Companies.  We provide distribution of partner TV-Companies and offer maintenance services to their equipment.  The same happened with the Ninth Channel,” Zilfimian told media.ge.

The First Stereo TV-Company has up to 40 employees.  Several of them told media.ge that they have never met Vasil Kobaidze and do not plan to continue cooperation with him.

“I just found out who Vasil Kobaidze was.  I didn’t even know about him before.  His representatives told us we have to come to the office Monday and continue work.  However, if David Zilfimian is not the Director I definitely know that I will not come back to work and I believe all our employees will do the same,” the First Stereo Office Manager Tamuna Bochorishvili told media.ge.

For the moment nobody has the right to enter the First Stereo premises.  The broadcaster signal is off.  According to Zilfimian, signal switch-off was ordered by Kobaidze and the channel is now broadcasting via the radio signal. 

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