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Billionaire Ivanishvili’s Georgian TV Station Starts Trial Run

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- A Georgian satellite television channel owned by the wife of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili begins broadcasting today, General Director Kakha Beqauri said.

The Tbilisi-based station, Channel 9, owned by Ekaterine Khvedelidze, will go on air at 9 p.m. local time for a “trial run,” Beqauri said by telephone. He said it’s “hard to say” how much Ivanishvili has invested in the project as equipment is still arriving.

Ivanishvili, a critic of President Mikheil Saakashvili, said on April 5 that he wants to become Georgia’s next prime minister. He created an opposition political party on April 21 called Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia to contest a parliamentary election scheduled for October.

Ivanishvili, a Rossiiskiy Kredit Bank board member whose wealth Forbes magazine estimates at $6.4 billion, was stripped of Georgian citizenship last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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