You be the judge: case of Badri Patarkatsishvili “Badri” – why is he better off dead than alive for some?
“I believe you and Badri have one G--d and you will use this for the good for his family and children and for the truth.” Maybe this is bigger risk than I did before. I did it only for the sake of your religion and the future of my country.”
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Otari Dabrundashvili’s testimony
I, Otari Dabrundashvili, who lives at Balanchivadze Street No 28, Tbilisi, Georgia, make the following statement:
1. The following statements, unless stated otherwise by me, derive from my personal knowledge. If any statement is not based on my own knowledge, I rely on other information, the source of which is indicated by me, which I believe to be truthful.
2. My family's defense lawyer has informed me that documents or copies of the documents of the court hearings mentioned herein have been scanned and placed in a database known as the Database of the Ringtail Central Chancellery, which is hosted by the company FTI consulting (Ringtail). During this testimony I will give the Ringtail identification numbers of the documents and copies of documents in the database, as they have been indicated to me by my family's defense lawyer.
3. I am a citizen of Georgia. My primary profession was that of an economist, and I worked in the field during the Soviet era. After the USSR's breakup I chose to work in the “GruzAvtoVazProm” company, basically because Badri Patarkatsishvili (“Badri”), a friend of mine since childhood, was working there.
4. I had known Badri since age 17-19. Our friendship was based on personal charisma. Shortly after we became acquainted with each other, Badri was introduced to Ina Gudavadze (“Ina”). They were in a friendly relationship for approximately 5 years and eventually married. After this I had very close relations with this family. Badri and I were both appointed Vice-Directors of “GrusAvtoVazProm".
5. When I was first introduced to Badri I noticed that he had some special quality, a notion that he could achieve many things in his life. He was self-confident and a naturally successful person. Most importantly, he always wished to achieve more. He was, as we say, a “man of business”. He was distinguished by his abilities in communication and technical/practical skills.
6. It was the great pleasure for me to work at “GruzAvtoVazProm”. This manufacturer was the main distributor in the Caucasus of the spare parts for the “Jziguli” cars manufactured by “Avtovaz”. Badri and I often travelled together to the main “Avtovaz” factory, which was located in the Russian town of Tolyatti. Thanks to Badri I gained many friends there. These included Boris Berezovsky (hereinafter “BB”), who Badri and I met many times in Tolyatti, Georgia, Israel and London (information about this will be provided below).
7. From the moment, at the beginning of the 90’s, when Badri agreed to move to Moscow to join “Logovaz”, where he worked as a part-time consultant, I began to detach myself from “GruzAvtoVazProm” and any “Logovaz” connections, as I was then back in Georgia, where I was working as a commercial director. For 1-2 years I worked on my own projects in Georgia, so I had no business ties with Badri. Despite this I still had good relations with his family.
8. I would say that long before this time, and subsequently, Badri was undoubtedly very fond of his family, and this was clear to me. During one of my visits to Moscow he introduced me to his boy, who was with him. He said that he was called Dato (Davit). The boy was about 1 year old, and his mother was Olga Saphonova (“Olga”) – a woman I had met many years before in Tolyatti in the “Avtovaz” factory. She had become acquainted with Badri, as far as I know, in the Tolyatti factory and later moved to a job in the Moscow office of “Avtovaz”. Badri had friendly relations with Olga, but I never heard Badri say that Olga was his partner or mistress, all I heard from him was how much he loved Ina and his own family.
9. I am absolutely faithful to Badri and his family and will remain faithful. This is a widespread practice in Georgian business circles. People operate more through trust in a person than formal regulations or civil and legislative norms. Badri took care of me and my family, he never paid me a salary and if he suggested it I would refuse to take one. We were so close to each other and trusted each other so deeply that this was not necessary. Instead, I received from Badri as much money as was necessary for me and my family to have a roof over our heads and a car, cover education costs for my children. Buy food and spare clothes and so on. In fact we acted as one family. I have the same relations with Badri’s family today. At the same time I would like to underline that this will not affect negatively the truthfulness and correctness of this testimony. I express myself correctly as far as I can. I am well aware of my obligations before the Court, and no one has told me not to fulfill those obligations, in full and with due respect.
Badri’s return to Georgia in 2001
10. At the beginning of 2001 Badri called me over the phone and said that he was about to return to Georgia and take up permanent residence. When he returned we and his two sisters visited the tomb of his father. This was a very emotional moment, at which he turned to me and said that from then on he would stay in Georgia forever. He asked me to stay with him as his assistant. I agreed, I spent all my time with him, helping him in his day-to-day affairs and resolving problems with different projects. Moreover I often accompanied him on his business trips.
11. When Badri and I were in Moscow on business I concluded that Badri had close personal and business relations with Mr. BB. Badri informed me that he was a full shareholder of BB’s operations in Russia. At that time Badri had no serious operations in Georgia. On his return to Georgia in 2001 he never mentioned BB in connection with his investments in Georgia. As I spent every working day with Badri, I believe he had no reason to lie to me about this, continually, over a period of years. Moreover, if BB (or any other person) had had shares in Badri’s Georgian investments, Badri would have told me about this. Because I was involved in these investments, and I was a partner in many of them, in favour of Badri, if any other person, and especially such a person as BB, had had shares in these particular operations, I believe Badri would inevitably have told me this at some point, and BB also would have asked me about his shares. I cannot recall any such statement or indication ever being given.
12. Badri would consider it inappropriate to discuss the details of his business dealings outside Georgia, with which I had no connection, with me.
Working procedures and documents
13. I would like to touch on circumstances connected with Badri and his family and work. When he first returned from Moscow we worked from his flat, which is at Paliashvili Street No 110. After this, he purchased the former Wedding Palace in Tbilisi and began repair work there. When these were completed, in 2003, he moved his residence and office to this Palace. He spent much time there. He worked there with his private secretary, Maya Motserelia, but during the day almost all his hours in the Palace he spent with me.
As I was working alongside him I did not need my own office. Many people regarded me as Badri’s shadow. In connection with Badri’s business activities many other people also spent a lot of time with Badri, for example Paata Namshuridze, but no one spent as much time with him as I did.
14. I was the head of Badri’s administration, responsible for security, drivers, etcetera, and as will be discussed below, I ran more than one comparatively small Georgian business operation, many of which I also purchased, but always with Badri’s money and his consent. In fact the purchase of many of these companies came about after I had suggested it to Badri, and Badri agreed to purchase them, or consented to me doing so, trusting that I could create something useful out of them together with him.
15. I did not need to keep much documentation in connection with my activities and communications or any other papers. My work was primarily done over the phone. Written correspondence was composed and sent from Badri’s office by Maya Motserelia.
16. I have been asked to comment on how Badri produced big documents. Through working with Badri for so many years, it became very clear to me that he disliked reading big documents. He preferred short annotations and hearing explanations of details from people verbally, rather than researching written details. I am aware that Badri’s knowledge of the English language was basic conversational English. At the beginning of 2000 his level of English was very restricted, but by the beginning of 2007 his knowledge had improved so much that he could hold simple dialogues with people, which did not require him to engage in long conversations and complicated discussions.
I never saw him read any English documents and I do not believe that he could have done this or had any interest in doing this. He could only read small English documents of an elementary level. It is unlikely that Badri would ever have read, approved or signed any important documents in the English language. I remember that from time to time he asked Maya or persons working with Maya to summarise for him the content of short documents in English. The long documents were always translated into Georgian/Russian for him.
17. In the middle of November 2007 (as will be explained below) Badri was in Israel but preparing for the presidential campaign in Georgia. I left him in Israel, for he was still working there, and lived in London with his family in his home at Downside Manor. At approximately this time I was informed that Badri was nervous about documents and writings in Georgia which might be used against him. Later I believe Badri ordered his staff to destroy his private and business documents in Georgia.
18. l I also believe that the Georgian government confiscated documents from the office near the Sport Palace were Badri kept papers concerning his companies and operations. The above-mentioned office was run by Mr. Giorgi Jaoshvili. As far as I am aware these documents have not been returned even to this day.
19. I am not aware If Badri kept any other records in Tbilisi or any other place. I am not aware if any audio or any other records were kept in his offices. At the same time I believe that for such an important businessman as Badri it is usual to make records of discussions. I am aware that Badri and his family employed a Mr. Sazanov to undertake security measures, but I am not aware whether or not he was tasked with making records. I was once introduced to Andrey Lugovoy in Tbilisi, as a guest of Badri, but I am not aware whether Badri asked him to make any records.
The operations in Georgia
20. As previously mentioned many of Badri's operations in Georgia were officially registered in my name. These included lands, buildings, construction projects, and so on. Many of them had emerged from business opportunities which I had detected and suggested to Badri as potential investments. If we agreed on such projects, their management was usually entrusted to me and/or other persons. Generally the management of property, taxes and relations with third parties were easier for a person with legal ownership rights to undertake. Badri was not willing to engage in such relations in connection with such operations. Consequently these smaller operations were purchased with Badri's money, but registered officially in my name, and/or that of other person. Badri himself paid much more attention to his bigger investments, such as “Kulevi”, “Imedi”, “Magti”, “Borjomi” and “Rustavi” and to charitable activities. He entrusted with great pleasure, to me and persons like me, the management of comparatively small scale operations.
21. Whilst preparing this testimony I drafted a list of all those Georgian operations which really belonged to Badri but were registered in my name or others' names. This list I passed to the defence lawyers of Ina Gudavadze. The original is the document known as Georgian Language Draft (1). It was drafted by me whilst preparing this testimony, and not in connection with the other court hearing known to me. The list of above mentioned operations is the same, or as near as possible, as the list I passed soon after the funeral of Badri to Mrs. Ina Gudavadzen Tbilisi. I do not know for which purposes she needed this but I think she was trying to identify which operations in Georgia belonged to Badri.
22. The taxes levied on property registered in my name were comparatively low, and I paid them with sums of money given me by Badri. I think the same procedure was followed in all Badri’s operations which were registered in the names of others. In some cases properties were managed by warrants of attorney – in other words, by proxy (trusts). I know Badri created some trusts in offshore zones in the names of his and/or other families. Following this it is clear that it was impossible to register those operations under my name. At the same time, in several cases, some companies presented warrants in my name for the purpose of managing the above mentioned operations on their own behalf.
23. One or two of the above-mentioned operations were put into the hands of offshore holding companies. I considered that some of the big landholdings which I managed would be more secure if registered in the name of trusts (offshore companies). That’s why I asked the Georgian defence lawyers of Badri to take the necessary measures to register those lands with offshore companies. I sometimes discuss these questions with Badri, but in many cases I acted on my own initiative.
24. At the beginning of 2000 Badri appeared to make progress in his understanding of foreign legislative systems and began to become more interested with using such systems to protect his ownership rights in various operations and the regulation of his relations with these entities. Despite this, as mentioned above, this did not affect his operations in Georgia, which were Badri’s possessions but registered in my name. The basis for their registration was agreed between me and Badri and was absolutely clear.
25. In such cases formalities were never necessary. As mentioned, my relations with Badri were based on mutual trust, as were all my other formal relations with Badri.
26. I know the following about Badri's participation in the Khulevi Petroleum storage depot. Badri told me that he had decided to invest in Khulevi and to conduct construction and development work there together with Vitali Sepashvili. As far as I am aware, Vitali Sepashvili was already the owner of Khulevi, but wished Badri to invest in the petroleum storage depot to provide necessary investment capital. Many times I visited Khulevi during the construction work together with Badri. In approximately 2003 Badri also purchased the locomotive engine which was kept in the Broadcloth factory (Maudkamvoli). He told me that he would need to use this engine, in due time, to transport the oil containers. He also said that a railway line would be constructed from Poti to the Khulevi petroleum storage depot along the Black Sea coast.
I received an official invitation for the opening ceremony of this in 2008, and also two brochures in which Vano Chkhartishvili was named as a partner in this venture. I had not heard this man's name before in connection with the oil terminal. In these documents I saw the names of the other partners/companies involved in the venture but not Badri’s name. I was very surprised. I do not know why this omission was necessary. When I asked Ina, she said that no doubt Badri was an investor. She add that in fact everyone knew that since Badri’s death many of those people whom Badri had trusted and had had business relations were trying to take his property into their own hands, and in many cases were treating Badri’s property as their own if it was formally registered in their name.
27. In the case of the Rustavi metallurgical factory, I know that Badri was the 100% owner of this factory. I also knew that he involved other persons in the management of this factory – particularly Joseph Kay (“Kay”). I am certain that Badri would have told me if he considered any of these persons to be the legitimate owner of this factory. It is clear that all the operations Badri owned he owned for himself and his family.
28. Badri informed me that the was introduced to Kay for the first time when Badri and Ina visited New York in the mid 90's, when Kay and his family were living in poverty.( I do not remember whether I was aware if Badri had been acquainted with Kay since childhood). In any case, Badri cared for Kay when Kay arrived in Moscow. During one or two of my visits to Moscow Badri explained to me that he was taking care of Kay and his family, and in particular had got jobs in “ORT” for Kay and Kay’s sister and brother-in-law, who had accompanied him to Moscow.
29. I was informed that Kay was a distant relative of Badri, and therefore concluded that this was the reason Badri had appointed him to a senior position. Eventually Kay began to work for Badri and/or some operations were registered in his name. This was exactly the case with the Rustavi metallurgical factory, and also the Agara sugar factory which Kay ran together with Tariel Shaverdashvili. Bearing this in mind, among the trusted friends of Badri Kay had a very exceptional role.
30. I met Roman Abramovich twice when he visited Badri. One time was when Mr. Abramovich came to Georgia for a short visit with Badri.
31. The second meeting was very remarkable. It took place in Israel in the Camp David Hotel in the middle of 2007. Badri and I often stayed there, as did BB back then. I knew that BB was suing Abramovich, or was about to sue him. At the same time Badri had good relations with Mr. Abramovich.
I saw that the dialogue between them was without tension or difficulties. I remember that when the three of us were drinking coffee together, Badri, BB and I, Badri stood up and said that we should go shopping and buy presents (Badri loved to buy presents; he often gave presents to Ina and his family). As we were about to go out of the hotel we accidentally encountered Abramovich in the lobby. He was dressed in old jeans and a t-shirt and was eating crackers. Badri approached him and said that it was funny that they had met, and even funnier that BB was sitting near Mr. Abramovich and drinking coffee. It was clear that Badri was making this comment in the context of the pretensions of BB. In this context Badri jokingly said to Abramovich: “If Boris wins, I will get 50% of the sum he will gain from you in the courts, if you win I will get 50% from you.”
Breaking of economic ties
32. In 2003-2004 Badri was concerned about the social and political positions of BB in Russia. I know that at the beginning of 2004 Badri stated openly that his personal wish was to separate his business operations from those of BB. He discussed this subject for 2-3 years. It was clear that this question seriously worried him, as he was connected with BB by solid friendship and faithfulness.
33. Around the end of 2005 he said that he would not be having any more business dealings with BB. After this he said that he had officially detached his shares from those of BB. This information was disseminated in the media, where it was stated that BB and Badri were still friends, but wouldn’t be doing business together any more.
34. In the middle of November in 2007 I departed for Israel with Badri. This visit was connected with Badri’s presidential campaign in Georgia. In Israel I openly expressed my deep concern about his decision to take part in the presidential campaign. I thought this was an inappropriate step for him and a burden he should not take on. I think that in this particular matter Badri had taken into consideration, and followed, BB’s opinion. The next day he politely declared to me that it would be better if I left Israel. He suggested that I move to London and live with his family till the end of the presidential campaign. I moved to London and lived in Surrey, in Downside Manor, until the death of Badri in 2008.
Death of Badri in 2008
35. Badri returned to Downside Manor from Israel after his presidential campaign was over. Although I remember well many of the things which happened before his death, at the time of his death and afterwards, in many cases I cannot rationally explain even today why some of them took place.
36. On the day before his death and the day of his death Badri woke up early in the morning and went out of Downside Manor, not telling anybody anything. I almost always went everywhere with him, so this seemed strange to me. On the day Badri died, February 12, he returned home late in the afternoon. The chef told me that Badri was preparing to have supper with me and others that evening. When I approached the dining table Badri asked me to move from the place allocated for me at the other end of the table and sit at the right side of him. I was surprised by this because this seat was usually reserved for his brothers-in-law. Badri recommended that I try the food, but did not eat anything himself. He was very tired, exhausted, but he did not say why.
37. After supper we went to sleep. After this I was called to see him and when I entered his room I saw that one of his drivers was performing resuscitation procedures on him. He was a former soldier tasked with conducting medical procedures. It was soon evident that nothing was helping him and that Badri was dead. The police who were called closed the house for the night and the greater part of the next day. After the police opened the house up again several people came, among them BB and Mr. Glushkov. They said that they had been waiting outside for a very long time. After this BB (and many other people) came in and out many times. He was crying.
38. In the following days I saw Ina periodically as discussions were pending with defence lawyers. Naturally, as I do not know English I did not understand what they were talking about. I was not sure how to act, or what to tell Ina. Ina herself was very upset after Badri’s death; she became inadequate, and stopped dealing with things which needed attention and serious consideration.
39. But the most worrying was the day when Ina, Natela and Ina’s daughters returned from Downside Manor with me to Georgia. Till that moment I had thought that Ina had signed those judicial documents which the English lawyers had been discussing with her and that this signature was merely connected with the procedures of certifying Badri’s death.
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