Workers fired by the Rustavi Nitrogen factory and their supporters are demanding that the management of the Bank of Georgia restore them to their posts and sign new labor contracts with them. The Bank of Georgia, in turn, is tactfully denying ever acquiring Rustavi Nitrogen and connection to its current owner, the EU Investments company. The now-unemployed factory workers, however, claim possession of information that proves the contrary.
It is noteworthy that it was precisely the Bank of Georgia that ensured the factory’s ownership change. Financial problems of Rustavi Nitrogen are connected to its former owner, businessman Roman Pipia. This man transferred almost half of the standby loan granted to him by a bank in Luxembourg to a Luxembourg-based company unrelated to the loan’s purpose that was also affiliated with him. This action prompted a lawsuit from the bank. The resulting artificial crisis was taken advantage of by the Bank of Georgia, which held the base means of production and stocks of Rustavi Nitrogen under mortgage: in a move that proved fatal for the company, the mortgaged assets were put out for bids.
At the auction itself, everything was made to disregard interests of Rustavi Nitrogen’s other loan holders, namely the Luxembourg bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Another source of justified suspicion is the fact that EBRD received information of the auction that was to be held on September 1, 2016 only two days in advance, on August 30, and only in Georgian language. As a result of the auction, all of Rustavi Nitrogen assets and means of production were acquired by EU Investments Company, governed by former Bank of Georgia top manager Ephrem Urumashvili.