Israeli Defense Contractor Sues Georgia, Says Tbilisi Never Paid for Drones
Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit is suing the government of Georgia, alleging Tbilisi hasn't paid for some weapons purchases, according to press release from the company:
Elbit Systems Ltd. (the "Company") announced today, that it has filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Justice of the United Kingdom against the Government of Georgia (the "Government"), in an amount of approximately $100 million.
The lawsuit was filed as a result of the Government's failure to pay amounts due to the Company in connection with deliverable items under several contracts signed in 2007.
I asked Elbit officials some follow-up questions but they said they couldn't say anything more than the above. But the only deal in 2007 between Elbit and Georgia was for Hermes 450 aerial drones. Georgia apparently bought about 40 of the drones, and while the contract price was never released, those UAVs generally go for about $2 million each, which would suggest that $100 million is the entire value of the contract.
This would seem another blow to the rapidly deteriorating Georgia-Israel commercial relationship, with this lawsuit coming just a week after a Georgian court convicted an Israeli businessman of bribery in a controversial (but unrelated) case. And Israel has allegedly put Georgia under a de facto arms embargo, as a result of Russian pressure.
I've asked some Georgian government representatives for comment, will update if/when I hear back.
Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at Eurasianet, and author of The Bug Pit.
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