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Top Georgian official suggests West bankrupted Credit Suisse to blackmail Ivanishvili

9 July 2024
Bidzina Ivanishvili addresses the pro-government rally in Tbilisi on 30 April 2024 outside parliament. Photo: Tata Shoshiashvili/OC Media.

The ruling Georgian Dream party’s parliamentary leader, Mamuka Mdinaradze, has suggested that the West deliberately bankrupted Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse in order to apply pressure on party founder and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

During a press conference on Monday, Mdinaradze said that ‘certain […] forces’ had sought to blackmail Ivanishvili by ‘bankrupting a Swiss bank’, a reference to Ivanishvili’s legal battles with Credit Suisse. 

The comments were part of Georgian Dream’s increasing turn away from the West, including through their adoption of the foreign agent law, which the EU has made clear would halt Georgia’s accession process.

‘As for the Global War Party, these are specific, unfortunately, very influential forces that manage, for example, to organise an attempt to blackmail Bidzina Ivanishvili at the expense and cost of the bankruptcy of a Swiss bank and to stop billions’, he said. 

Mdinaradze said he was ‘talking about specific forces that control the situation and influence such structures that are capable of making decisions all over the world’.

He made the comments as part of a lengthy address, including about the ‘Global War Party’ — a conspiracy theory touted by Georgian Dream alleging that a secret cabal is controlling the West and attempting to sow war globally.

Georgian Dream officials have increasingly referred to the conspiracy as Ivanishvili’s legal troubles with Credit Suisse have dragged on, using it to justify their increasingly authoritarian and anti-Western policies.


Ivanishvili himself in April suggested that Western countries were being controlled by the secret global conspiracy and that the Georgian Government was successfully resisting it. He decried what he called the ‘global party of war’ — which he said was responsible for the 2008 August war and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — as well as suggesting a ‘foreign agency’ appointed Georgia’s rulers between 2004–2012.

Mdinaradze said that despite winning a legal dispute against Credit Suisse in 2022 to recover $2 billion, Ivanishvili had not yet received the money and that he was in fact under sanctions.

In 2018, former Credit Suisse banker Patrice Lescaudron was convicted of fraudulently taking money from several high-profile clients, including Ivanishvili.

On 7 May, Bloomberg reported that Ivanishvili had launched a new lawsuit against the troubled bank for $220 million. According to Bloomberg, Ivanishvili has already been awarded $1.34 billion by courts in Bermuda and Singapore over the affair, though the bank had vowed to appeal these decisions.

The scandal was one of a number that led to the downfall of Credit Suisse. Founded in 1856, the bank was seen as an institution in Switzerland, worth almost $88 billion at its height. Credit Suisse was saved from bankruptcy in a last-minute takeover in 2023 by another Swiss bank, UBS.

Mdinaradze’s comments came in response to the US cancelling joint military drills with Georgia, citing the anti-Western rhetoric of the Georgian Dream and its satellites.

The US Department of Defence announced it would be postponing the annual Noble Partner training as part of a ‘comprehensive review of the United States–Georgia bilateral relationship’.

They cited the Georgian government’s ‘false accusations against the United States and Other Western entities’, and rhetoric used by the ruling Georgian Dream party and their allies that the West was pressuring Georgia to ‘open a second front against Russia to alleviate pressure on Ukraine, and of participating in two coup attempts against the ruling party’.

[Read more: US ‘indefinitely postpones’ annual joint military drills with Georgia]

Mdinaradze denied during Monday’s briefing that Georgian Dream had equated the West with the ‘Global War Party’, or that they had accused the US of attempting to open a second front of war in Georgia, or had attempted to organise a coup.

However, the ruling party has repeatedly made clear that they believe the ‘Global War Party’ was controlling Western countries, including the US.

During a visit to Georgia amidst mass protests in May, US Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien said that Ivanishvili had refused to meet him because he believed he was under ‘de facto sanctions’.

 ‘There are no sanctions on him, at this point’, he said, adding that ‘for such an influential individual to be this badly misinformed is both shocking and disappointing.’

O'Brien said he was ‘disturbed’ by ‘comments made by leaders of Georgian Dream that there is a global war party, and that Georgia must turn away from the commitments made to the global war party, and that there is a conspiracy by the West to remove GD from office — despite 12 years of strong cooperation’. He likened the conspiracy theory to ‘like a Reddit page came to life’.

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze said at the time that Ivanishvili had refused to meet O'Brien because he had ‘entrusted $2 billion to the West’, which ‘fell into the hands of the Global War Party’.

Challenged about the existence of the ‘Global War Party’ by a journalist on Monday, Mdinaradze insisted that it was ‘not made up’.

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