Zaza Bibilashvili is a founding partner of BGI Advisory Services Georgia and the director of BGI Legal. Prior to the arrival of BGI in the aftermath of Ernst & Youngs global decision to exit law, Zaza was a director of E&Ys legal services arm, EY Law Georgia as well as a director of its predecessor, GCG Law Office, both dominant players on the Georgian legal services market at the time. Before moving to private practice, Zaza worked with the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations in NY.
Zaza has extensive transactional, corporate, M&A, real estate & construction, oil & gas, litigation & arbitration, legislative drafting, intellectual property and labor law experience. Together with his colleagues at BGI, Zaza has been involved in nearly every major transaction in Georgia over the past decade. His key engagements include:
- Represented the shareholders of Georgias largest and most influential broadcasting company, Rustavi 2, in defending the company against a highly-publicized takeover attempt by the Russia-friendly Ivanishvili government of Georgia (2015-2016).
- Acted as the lead counsel in the largest ever divorce litigation in Georgia, with assets worth approximately 0.5 billion USD at stake.
- Represented CT Park, an Israeli-owned exclusive operator of parking services in Tbilisi, Georgia in a series of disputes with central and municipal governments of Georgia.
- Represented Diplomat Georgia, one of the largest FMCG distributors in Georgia in a multi-million USD tax litigation.
- Represented Coca-Cola Bottlers Georgia in an LCIA arbitration and related recognition and enforcement proceedings in Georgia.
- Provided full legal support to a London-based owner and developer of Galleria Tbilisi - the biggest shopping center project in Georgia, in acquisition, development and sale of the asset.
- Represented an international consortium of investors in the largest ever private transaction in Georgia involving acquisition of interest in certain telecommunications companies, a deal valued at 0.5 billion USD.
- Represented a major EU-based insurance company in defending against a USD 100 million claim in Georgian courts.
- Represented a major Georgian manufacturer of soft drinks in a USD 16 million acquisition of a leading French-owned Georgian brewery.
- Represented the Owner of the property in negotiating a long-term management agreement with a major international hospitality group.
- Acted as a Georgian law expert in an approximately USD 600 million litigation in English Courts.
- Represented the Georgian Government in a USD 90 million privatization transaction of a major port and infrastructure facility with a view of establishment of a free industrial zone.
- Represented Citigroup in a USD 25 million mezzanine loan financing of a leading US-Georgian real estate developer and operator.
- Advised the Georgian Government jointly with Norways ECON Poyry on the development of seven greenfield hydro-power stations.
- Represented British American Tobacco in negotiating its manufacturing and distribution operations in Georgia, conducted legal due diligence of the largest Georgian tobacco enterprise, drafted and negotiated acquisition contracts and related project documentation (a USD 40 million project).
- Advised the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, one of the largest international Jewish charities, regarding its operations in Georgia.
- Represented a major Russian-based investment group in a consolidated acquisition of the largest Georgian gold and copper mining enterprise from the State and private owners (a USD 61 million transaction).
- Represented Populi, the largest supermarket chain in Georgia, in a USD 12 million secured loan transaction vis-à-vis EBRD.
- Represented Oriflame, a leading international cosmetics manufacturer, in a tax dispute with the Georgian Government, advised the company on the purchase of the land for its Caucasus warehouse.
- Represented a major Australian mining company in setting up a gold-mining facility in Georgia, a USD 75 million project.
- Advised the Georgian National Lottery Fund, a special Government entity, in drafting and negotiation the first ever contract with the private operator of the national lottery.
- Represented British American Tobacco in a USD 33 million tax dispute with the Georgian authorities.
- Represented/advised a consortium of international oil companies in drafting and negotiation of enabling legislation for land rights and eminent domain issues.
- Advised a major Swiss Industrial Group on the acquisition of a blocking minority stake in the Zestafoni Ferro Alloy Works Plant, one of Georgias largest production facilities.
- Advised a major Russian real estate developer in a USD 25 million transaction in Georgia.
- Represented the Georgian Government in drafting and negotiating contractual documentation in a strategic infrastructure development project (Build, Operate and Transfer Contract) valued at 62 million USD.
- Assisted the Embassies of France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Japan and the mission of the World Bank in Georgia in various land and real estate transactions since 1998.
- Assisted Marriott International in negotiating a set of management and financial agreements with the owner of the local hotel development (a USD 55 million transaction).
- Represented GlaxoSmithKline in settling a collective labour dispute, involving approximately USD 2 million material value.
- General assistance to Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCG), theUS Government-funded USD 300 million project concerning mainly infrastructure and tourism (win based on a competitive tender).
- Represented Enguri LLC, the largest Georgian hydro-power generating facility in a mandate to achieve settlement with a Russian counter-part, in a multimillion USD investment related dispute.
- Represented a major British private equity fund in the development of the first and the largest Western-style gated community in Georgia, a USD 25 million project.
- Represented a major international hotel operator/chain in a dispute with the US Government.
- Acted as an arbitrator jointly nominated by the Government of Georgia and the Government of the Adjara Autonomous Republic in ICC arbitration proceedings involving a USD 33 million claim.
Zaza graduated from Tbilisi State University, Department of International Law, earning a Law Degree with High Honors, and has a B.A. in international relations from Canisius College of Buffalo, New York.
Zaza is a founding member of the Georgian Bar Association and was elected as a member of executive board in 2009. He is a member of the State Constitutional Commission, charged with preparing a new Georgian Constitution. Zaza is a member of the Board and Chairman of the Arbitration commission, ICC Georgia.
Zaza is the editor of Georgian Law Brief, BGIs monthly legal news bulletin. In 1994 he was named Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International by Northlake Rotary Club of Atlanta, GA.
In addition to his native Georgian, Zaza speaks fluent English and Russian, and has a fair command of French and Spanish.