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In 2016, Economic Situation in Georgia will Depend on the Rate of the Georgian Lari

An interview with the businessman Caesar Chocheli

When the power changed in 2012 , you faced the problems. You talked about the pressure on you and mentioned many names, including the Minister of Finance. How are things now?

There was not a particular pressure then, but the court treated us unfairly. It was the wrong approach to our business group in general. Almost all of the assets of our factories have been arrested, 7 or 8 criminal cases were filed against me  with totally unfounded accusations. I always  spoke openly about the  problems. And now I am not silent, and finally after three years this story has ended.

Are you satisfied with the results?

There is no reason to be satisfied in any case. I’ve lost three years but the end was still logical. Now the property of two my companies is arrested, and most likely in the near future the seizure will be lifted  and I’ll immediately begin to build new factories. In particular, I’m talking about 3-4 new companies. There are small impediments, but we will cope with them, and very quickly we’ll announce the launch of new projects.

In total, we have already built 13 enterprises, 2 of them – the largest – went bankrupt. More than 10 000 people are working  in my plants. 80 million was invested only in the beer company  Zedazeni which transferred more than GEL 50 million to the  budget.

The restoration of justice was one of the promises made by the current government during the election campaign. In your opinion, was this promise fulfilled?

I can say only one thing – much more lowlifes than really affected people covered behind the slogan of restoring justice. I will not name them, I only  say that there are a lot of them.

What do you expect from the elections in 2016 for the Georgian economy?

In general, any election year is always less active in terms of  investments. It will be good , if 2016 is  the exception, but the election year  is always more passive for the economy. This year the government  is more active and is carrying out  various infrastructure projects, but the business is less optimistic. In 2016 much will depend on the rate of the national currency. I think at this stage the national currency has not stabilized.  The rate is fluctuating and this creates serious problems to  the  business. I think that much more could have been done to stabilize the national currency, especially in the banking sector. Much can be done now.