(Bloomberg) — OneWeb Ltd., a U.K.-backed satellite company, has been sued in the U.S. by a former Donald Trump business partner who claims he wasn’t paid for helping to secure rocket-launch rights in Kazakhstan.
Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian-American businessman, said he played a role in helping OneWeb connect with business and government figures in Kazakstan, who paved the way for the company to launch satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and to operate a ground station for its internet network, according to the lawsuit. Rtskhiladze is seeking more than $30 million, plus damages.
London-based OneWeb “was only able to achieve those business and strategic objectives in Kazakhstan and Central Asia because of” Rtskhiladze and his company, Logical Strategies LLC, he said in the complaint filed in New York state court on Jan. 6. He said his work led to “hundreds of millions of dollars in value” for OneWeb.
“These claims are without merit, unfounded and will be vigorously opposed through the U.S. courts,” a spokesman for OneWeb said by phone.
OneWeb filed for bankruptcy at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and was rescued by a consortium led by the U.K. government and India’s Bharti Global.
Rtskhiladze previously worked with the Trump Organization on a proposal for a tower in the Georgian Black Sea town of Batumi that never got built and has sued the Justice Department saying he was incorrectly portrayed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
The case is Logical Strategies v. OneWeb, New York County Court, 650099/2022.
— By Thomas Seal and Stephanie Baker