Georgian businessman says Zurab Tsereteli’s men kidnapped him

Georgian businessman says Zurab Tsereteli’s men kidnapped him
Zurab Tsereteli

People allegedly associated with the firm of Zurab Tsereteli and his grandson Vasily, threatened violence unless the debt is paid.

The Georgian businessman, just released from extortionists where he had been held captive, said that people from the firm of Zurab Tsereteli and his grandson Vasily were responsible for his abduction.

Givi Jibladze, the CEO of the Georgian construction company Sveti, was abducted by unknown persons on May 26 near his own house. Four unknown persons demanded either that he paid $150.000 or that he waived his legal rights to a plot of land in the popular resort town of Bakuriani in their favor. When Jibladze was released to collect the money, he immediately went to the police. The kidnappers were detained in downtown Tbilisi and charged under the articles "Extortion" and "Illegal imprisonment".

After that, Givi Jibladze told reporters that he had been abducted by people allegedly associated with the famous sculptor and president of the Russian Academy of Arts Zurab Tsereteli. According to the businessman, he had bought a plot of land in Bakuriani from Tsereteli to build a residential building or a hotel there. However, he could not get permission for the construction. For several months he was constantly getting calls with threats from the local company Stroitel-3, which belongs to Vasily Tsereteli.

"This was done by people directly connected with Tsereteli’s company," Jibladze said.

Tsereteli Jr. told the Kommersant that his grandfather had never owned land in Bakuriani, which can be checked in the state register. As for Stroitel-3, Vasily Tsereteli said that he has nothing to do with it now, since he is the executive director of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

We should remind that Zurab Tsereteli had been in the middle of a real estate scandal before, in the early 2000s. It was when thief in law Zakhary Kalashov and his partners captured Kristall and Golden Palace casinos in Moscow.

When interrogated, Tsereteli said that in the 1990s he was a co-owner of the firm that owned said gambling establishments. He had contributed a building near Taganskaya metro station, where Kristall casino was built. According to the sculptor, his lawyer Vladimir Dukhnov was dealing with all matters related to that business. After Dukhnov disappeared in 2000, Tsereteli did not get involved in the activities of the casino and was not aware of what was going on there, as he told the investigators. The sculptor also said he did not know who eventually became the owner of the gambling establishments or the buildings where the casinos used to be.

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