The dispute between the Georgian communications regulator GNCC, and NEQSOL Holding, the owner of Caucasus Online has intensified. On March 24, GNCC stated that the transaction by which NEQSOL increased its stake in Caucasus Online to 100% was “illegitimate”.
As Teymur Taghiev, Head of Strategy at NEQSOL Holding, told BMG that the GNCC is not in the position to make such public statements, because the legitimacy of the transaction now will be determined by the courts. NEQSOL Holding initiated several lawsuits against the actions of the GNCC in Georgian courts and also launched an arbitration at the International Arbitration Tribunal (ICSID) in Washington to determine whether the GNCC violated NEQSOL’s property rights when it made a decision to force NEQSOL to reverse the deal and appointed a special manager to the Caucasus Online in October 2020.
According to the decision made by the Tbilisi Court of Appeals on March 1, the authority of the special manager appointed by the GNCC to Caucasus Online was suspended until a final decision is made on the case.
“We have read the latest statement from GNCC, I understand that it was a kind of response to the opinion provided by the Venice Commission, but the title of this statement published on the GNCC website misleadingly refers to the so called “illegal acquisition of 100% shares of Caucasus Online” by Nasib Hasanov. In my opinion, this is a speculative statement, as the only the respective courts - Georgian Court or International Arbitration Tribunal - can decide on the legality or illegality of the transaction," said Teymur Taghiev.
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