The FINANCIAL -- According to Civil Georgia, a man discussing business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili’s assassination plot with alleged Chechen warlord is a former Interior Ministry official Gia Dgebuadze, with nickname ‘mastera,’ the Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV reported on December 23.
Nika Gvaramia, the Georgian deputy chief prosecutor, said he was not able “either to confirm, or deny that information.” “We can give more details only after the tape is examined,” he told Rustavi 2 TV’s evening news.
Meanwhile, Shota Khizanishvili, the interior ministry’s spokesman said, Gia Dgebuadze was dismissed from the ministry in April, 2007.
The Sunday Times reported on December 23 that a covertly recorded audio-tape suggests business tycoon and presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili’s assassination attempt had been plotted. The newspaper, which is owned by News Corporation – Patarkatsishvili’s partner in his Imedi media holding – said that the tape (posted on the Times Online website), recorded last June, contained a conversation between Chechen warlord, Uvais Akhmadov and an official from the Georgian interior ministry. Akhmadov, the Sunday Times reported, instead of going along with the plan, tipped off the tycoon’s allies about the tape.
Patarkatsishvili, who spends most of his time between London and Israel, refuses to arrive back to Georgia citing absence of security guarantees.
Meanwhile, the Georgian authorities have denied Patarkatsishvili’s allegations as an attempt to create ground for “post-election destabilization.”
“Badri Patarkatsishvili’s allegation that his murder was plotted is not the first of this type and [these allegations] have turned into a tendency, or tradition,” Nika Gvaramia, the deputy chief prosecutor said. “But not a single allegation made by Patarkatsishvili has been confirmed… “This is interested for us as far as it has already turned into a tendency… So tomorrow at the noon we will convene a press conference and inform the press about the detail of this trend.”
Giorgi Baramidze, the state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration issues, said Patarkatsishvili’s speculation was not simply his pre-election stunt. “This is aimed at preparing grounds for post-election destabilization,” Baramidze said in comments aired by the Rustavi 2 TV.
MP Pavle Kublashvili of the ruling party said that “disinformation” of this type was aimed at “increasing political temperature in the country” and at distracting attention from pre-election campaign.
“This in turn is directly linked with the issue of January 6 [allusion to allegations that the opposition is preparing not for the January 5 presidential elections, but for post-election protest rallies],” Kublashvili said.
MP Givi Targamadze said Patarkatsishvili’s allegations reminded him of statements made by ex-Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze, who was always claiming that terrorist acts were being plotted against him. “And we again see the very same people, including Valery Gelbakhiani [Abashidze’s ally in the past and now head of the Patarkatsishvili’s campaign headquarters] and Giorgi Targamadze [director of Patarkatsishvili co-owned Imedi TV’s political programs, who was Abashidze’s ally, who then distanced from him],” he added.
The allegation followed few days later after Patarkatsishvili’s campaign headquarters in Tbilisi disseminated a video tape, wherein a retired Georgian colonel was alleging that he was forced to give false evidence against Patarkatsishvili to the Georgian prosecutors, who were fabricated case against him.