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Adjara officials ‘met Kadyrov-linked businessman’ in Batumi

8 June 2023
Chechen businessman Aslanbek Akhmetkhanov. Screengrab via Grozny TV.

The head of the west Georgian region of Adjara and the Mayor of Batumi have reportedly met with a Chechen businessperson with close ties to Ramzan Kadyrov.

TV Formula reported that the chair of the government of Adjara, Tornike Rizhvadze and Batumi Mayor Archil Chikovani hosted Aslanbek Akhetkhanov at a private party at the Radisson Hotel in Batumi on 29 May.

Sources told Formula that the lounge at which the party took place was closed off all night and that hotel personnel working in the lounge were pre-selected. They added that they saw ‘cars on the site that can be seen in photos’ spread on social media in late May.

The sources likely referred to photos and videos of a motorcade of cars with Russian number plates in Georgia. The plates matched cars found in photos posted by Akhmetkhanov’s son, Rokhim Akhmetkhanov, on Instagram. 

Rokhim Akhetkhanov was also reportedly among his father’s entourage.

The government of Adjara denied that Rizhvadze met with Akhmetkhanov and called reports of the Chechen businessperson’s visit ‘a lie’, while neither the Ministry of Internal Affairs nor the State Security Service of Georgia have commented on the alleged visit.

‘They entered as tourists, spent money, and left’

The appearance of the motorcade of luxury cars caused controversy in Georgia, with social media users posting sightings of the vehicles across Georgia.


RFE/RL reported that the group received more than 40 traffic fines totalling ₾7,450 ($2,800), having cross-referenced the plate numbers seen in pictures and videos of the motorcade with data from a public police database, with the earliest fine recorded on 22 May.

Dmitry Samkharadze, an MP of the ruling Georgian Dream party, claimed that a Chechen businessman — presumably Akhmetkhanov — had visited Georgia with a former mayor of Grozny.

‘They entered as tourists, spent money, and left. And if they had any violation, no one would have let them in’, said the MP, noting that none of the Chechen visitors had ‘violated the law on occupation’. The law criminalises entering Abkhazia from Russia.

On 4 June, Mtavari Arkhi reported that Akhmetkhanov and his entourage had left Georgia for Turkey. 

According to Caucasian Knot, Akhmetkhanov, nicknamed ‘the demon’, has ties with the Russian criminal underworld and is the registered owner of petrol company Yug-Neft.

He reportedly disappeared in April 2020 after being ‘publicly shamed’ by Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov, who chastised him on camera for being in the company of women, drinking alcohol, and possessing weapons.

‘We seized so many weapons from you that it’s incomprehensible’, Caucasian Knot cited Kadyrov as saying to Akhmetkhanov. ‘I know everything. […] tell it like it is. I swear by the Koran Almighty, I will make you lick the earth with your tongue all over Chechnya’.

Read in Armenian on CivilNet
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