The FINANCIAL -- According to Civil Georgia, MP Valery Gelbakhiani, who is chief of presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili’s campaign headquarters, is suspected of conspiracy to overthrow the government, Nika Gvaramia, the deputy chief prosecutor, said on December 24.
“At this stage MP Gelbakhiani will be interrogated in a status of suspect and if there is need by prosecutors to arrest him, we will request about it the Parliament,” Gvaramia said. A lawmaker can not be arrested unless he enjoys with immunity which can be stripped by the Parliament.
Gvaramia said that investigation into “an attempt of forceful overthrow of the government” was launched on December 17, when Irakli Kodua, head of the Interior Ministry’s Special Operations Department (SOD), notified investigators that a former judge Marina Gabunia and MP Valery Gelbakhiani were trying to bribe him in exchange for taking part in conspiracy.
Gvaramia said that in cooperation with Kodua investigators were able to covertly record two meetings between him and MP Gelbakhiani during which the latter tells the interior ministry official that the plan was “to thwart elections” and “to trigger mass unrests in Tbilisi and in entire Georgia.”
A black and white video tape of poor quality was then aired by all the Georgian national television stations.
In the video tape MP Gelbakhiani tells Kodua that during the planned unrests his task would be to arrest Vano Merabishvili, the interior minister. Kodua asks why he was so sure that people would go out in the streets on January 6 that was an essential part of the plot. Gelbakhiani replays that “lot money will be spent.” “We will have 80,000 paid activists in our structures, which we are currently creating, so at least 200,000 people will go out in the streets,” he added.
The second meeting with Kodua, Gvaramia said, takes place on December 21 after Gelbakhiani arrived from London where he held consultations with Badri Patarkatsishvili. He also said that Kodua had also personally met with Patarkatsishvili over the issue.
MP Gelbakhiani has confirmed that he met with Kodua, but said that tape was edited. He told Rustavi 2 TV in a phone conversation that his major goal was to have an ally within the Interior Ministry so that to prevent break up of possible protest rallies after the January 5 elections. Gelbakhiani also said that he planned to convene a press conference to clarify the issue.