Anti-Corruption Bureau Adviser’s Business Interests and Ties with the Georgian Dream - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Anti-Corruption Bureau Adviser’s Business Interests and Ties with the Georgian Dream

14 February, 2024

The Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Razhden Kuprashvili, appointed Vasil Babluani, a businessman linked to high-ranking officials of Georgian Dream and the Mamatsashvili family, as an Adviser. Babluani has also donated money to the ruling party-backed presidential candidate. Besides, he is a beneficiary of the Partnership Fund and LEPL Enterprise Georgia. Vasil Babluani and his business partners have collectively donated over half a million GEL in support of the ruling party.

  • Millions received from the government and state property being transferred for 1 GEL

Vasil Babluani's companies secured funding from the state-owned JSC Partnership Fund (rebranded as the Development Fund of Georgia since 2023) for two projects: the Georgian swine farm in Racha and the Ceramic brick factory in Kaspi.

Gees Iberia Consulting LLC runs both business projects. Emzar Nozadze, a dual citizen of Georgia and the Russian Federation, owns a 40% share in this company. Notably, Emzar Nozadze is the brother of Iuri Nozadze, the Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, who is also the brother-in-law of Ucha Mamatsashvili. Ucha Mamatsashvili, in turn, is both the cousin of Bidzina Ivanishvili and a trusted confidant.

The Swine Farm project costs 700,000 USD, with the Partnership Fund covering 50% of the financing. The project is executed by Native Georgian LLC, established in March 2016, with Vasil Babluani holding 49% of the shares. Moreover, according to findings from the Studio Monitor investigation, aside from financial backing, an additional sum of up to 700,000 GEL was allocated from the budget for the construction of the access road to the farm.

Regarding the Brick Factory in Kaspi, the project necessitates a total investment of 3.2 million USD, with the Partnership Fund covering 34% of the required funding. The project is managed by Ceramica El Torente + LLC, where Vasil Babluani holds a 24.5% share and Bidzina Songulashvili, the brother of Georgian Dream MP Davit Songulashvili, owns 25%. The remaining 50.5% is held by Sonnet Construction LLC, wherein Ioseb Songhulashvili, another brother of Davit Songulashvili, holds a 72% share. Interestingly, according to the Partnership Fund, JSC Cartu Bank and LEPL Enterprise Georgia are involved in the project. The share of the Fund is 1.1 million USD.

Under the decree of the Government of Georgia, Babluani's company acquired 28,155 square meters of state-owned land in Kaspi in 2018, along with its accompanying buildings, for a nominal sum of 1 GEL. This acquisition carried an investment commitment of 492,912 GEL, with the government having granted two extensions to the deadline for meeting this obligation.

In 2019, Transparency International Georgia and, in 2021, investigative journalists from Studio Monitor raised questions regarding the potential signs of corruption in Babluani's projects concerning the government's involvement.

  • Crypto Business

Vasil Babluani’s two other companies NOVA Hydromining LLC and JSC Nova Holdings are engaged in the crypto business.

According to NOVA Hydromining’s website, the company is registered in both the Tbilisi Free Industrial Zone and the Poti Free Industrial Zone under long-term agreements, allowing them to utilize 1500 m2 of land for the development of mining activities.

In a May 2022 interview with the Georgian edition of Forbes, Babluani stated that the initial phase entailed establishing and operating a 10-megawatt crypto-mining plant in Tbilisi. According to him, the project envisaged an investment of approximately 30 million dollars, “an amount expected to be generated within one year from the start of the plant.” In addition to mining bitcoins, the company provides mining hosting and consulting services to interested parties.

Companies in a free industrial zone are exempt from profit, property and value-added (VAT) taxes. For companies engaged in crypto-related ventures, the VAT exemption is particularly crucial as it translates to an 18% reduction in electricity expenses. Despite their significant electricity consumption, these companies tend to create relatively few jobs and benefit from exemptions on certain state taxes. This favourable environment effectively nurtures high profitability for such enterprises.

It's worth mentioning that Bidzina Ivanishvili and Ivane (Vano) Chkhartishvili hold shares in the management company, collectively owning 75% of the Poti Free Industrial Zone. Furthermore, the inception of the Tbilisi Free Industrial Zone in 2015 is attributed to Bidzina Ivanishvili, driven by his keen interest in the mining industry and his investments in this sector through his personal vehicle, the Co-Investment Fund.

Moreover, Davit Ebralidze, the director of the Poti Free Industrial Zone, holds a position within the corporate strategy team of Babluani’s NOVA Hydromining. Ebralidze also assumes managerial roles in various other enterprises owned by the Chkhartishvili family, such as the Georgia-China Friendship Association, where Vano Chkhartishvili serves as president.

One of Babluani’s associates in the crypto industry is Juan de Bagration de Ulloa, also recognized as Ioane Bagration-Mukhrani, who shares ownership of a wine enterprise with Ivane Chkhartishvili’s daughter. Additionally, Bagrationi's wife, Kristine Dzidziguri, has held the position of Deputy Chairperson at the Adjara Tourism Department since 2018. Notably, the godfathers of Bagrationi’s son include Ivane Chkhartishvili, Tornike Rizhvadze, and Vasil Babluani.

  • Donations to the ruling party

Between 2013 and 2021, Vasil Babluani and his business partners contributed a combined total of 501,000 GEL to Georgian Dream and Salome Zurabishvili. Notably, Emzar Nozadze donated 135,000 GEL, while Bidzina and Ioseb Songhulashvili contributed 270,000 GEL, and Babluani himself - 10,000 GEL.


Currently, Vasil Babluani owns shares in 11 companies and serves as the director in 9. He is the founder of the Spain-Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Throughout and following his visit to Spain as an Adviser to the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Babluani’s interviews indicate that he remains actively involved in business, with a primary focus on attracting foreign investment.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau’s website lacks any information concerning the education and experience of Vasil Babluani, nor does it specify the field or sector in which he provides advice to the Bureau.

It should be noted that in line with the best international standards (OECD/ACN), advisers to public officials are typically required to submit asset and interest declarations, with these declarations being made publicly accessible.

Transparency International Georgia calls on the Anti-Corruption Bureau to publish information about the Bureau’s advisors.


Rather than exemplifying a commitment to openness, transparency, and accountability, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, tasked with spearheading the anti-corruption efforts, presented its annual activities report on December 22 in a closed format. Despite emphasizing the importance of collaboration with civil society organizations in a press release, the Head of the Bureau failed to extend invitations to CSOs that are members of the Anti-Corruption Council for the report presentation or other related events. Additionally, the report is not available on the Bureau’s website.

Moreover, the Anti-Corruption Bureau's website lacks the following information:

  • Information about the deputy heads of the Bureau, their names, last names, photos, and biographies.
  • Name, surname, position, and contact information of the person responsible for ensuring access to public information.
  • Number of persons employed in the Bureau; The list of vacant positions announced by the Bureau, the results of the selection and the names of the chosen candidates.

It's important to note that the requirement to submit asset declarations extends solely to the head of the Bureau and their deputies. This limitation significantly curtails the transparency of the agency and restricts opportunities for external oversight.