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Prosecutors Reject Okruashvili’s Allegations

General Prosecutor’s Office has issued a statement in an attempt to disavow new allegations levelled by ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, on November 5.

Okruashvili said neither he, nor any of his friend and ally posted GEL 10 million bail through which he was released from custody. Large part of the GEL 10 million bail, Okruashvili has claimed, was paid by a businessman, Tamaz Nizharadze. The latter, according to Okruashvili, has interests in port of Poti and is defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili’s associate.

Nika Gvaramia, deputy chief prosecutor, said on November 6, that large part of bail, GEL 6.5 million, was paid by International Building Company, a firm owned by Okruashvili’s close friend Kibar Khalvashi.

“The remained sum was posted by his [Okruashvili’s] friend and business partner Tamaz Nizharadze, whom he [Okruashvili] described as “someone Tamaz Nizharadze,” Gvaramia said. “We have evidence proving close links between Nizharadze and Okruashvili, in particular, 135 phone conversations have been conducted between the two man in 2006 and 76 phone conversations – in five months of 2007. One does not call “someone” so frequently. Moreover, a car Volkswagen Phaeton, used by Irakli Okruashvili, was registered by Nizharadze’s firm.”

Okruashvili also said prosecutor’s office had not launched investigation into his accusations against President Saakashvili that he was plotting to kill tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. 

“It is not true,” Gvaramia said. “The investigation has been launched and it is still underway. In frames of this investigation, all those accusations levelled by Irakli Okruashvili, are being probed. For example, I would say that just Zaza Gogava, chief of staff of the Georgian armed forces, was interrogated. He rejected Okruashvili’s statement as if he was informed about Badri Patarkatsishvili’s possible liquidation. You know that an indirect evidence for this is the statement made US Ambassador to Georgia [John Tefft].”

Okruashvili said that he arrived in Munich after being “forcefully brought into airport” by officials from the law enforcement agencies and “forced into the plane.”

“Okruashvili [after his release from custody] informed the investigators that he wants to undergo medical treatment abroad and prosecutors gave permission as the bail was already posted,” Gvaramia said. “He applied for a visa to the British Embassy, which declined the request. Afterwards, he applied to the French Embassy from where he received a visa with observance of all relevant procedures.”

Gvaramia underlined that Okruashvili wanted to leave for London. Badri Patarkatsishvili is mainly based in London.

Okruashvili also said that while being in custody he was “forced” to give a testimony in which he retracted accusations levelled against Saakashvili. “Human factors were used to break me down,” he said.

“I do not know what it means – “pressure through human factors” – and it is very unclear what he meant by that and he did not explained it,” Gvaramia said.

Okruashvili in his televised interview also said that he attempted to arrive back to Tbilisi and for this purpose “carried out a test” by meeting unspecified person in Munich. But, he said, this person was arrested immediately upon his arrival in Tbilisi.

“It is not true that this person was arrested in Tbilisi,” Nika Gvaramia said. “However it is true that he met with the person – Davit Jibgashvili – in Munich. Investigators found in Okruashvili’s flat a plastic credit card registered on the name of Davit Jibgashvili. This card was used by Okruashvili during his visits to London. As a result, the investigation got interested in Davit Jibgashvili and his surveillance was launched, including his phone conversations. After Okruashvili’s statements yesterday, Davit Jibgashvili called [former journalist and Okruashvili’s party activist] Nana Lezhava, a close ally of Irakli Okruashvili, and complained why Okruashvili [in his televised interview] mentioned the fact of a meeting.”

The prosecutor’s office then disseminated this taped phone conversation between Jibgashvili and Nana Lezhava, in which Jibgashvili says that he arrived in Munich from London to give money to Okruashvili sent by, as he put it, “Badri” apparently referring to Badri Patarkatsishvili.

Nika Gvaramia, the deputy chief prosecutor, said that Okruashvili had been released on GEL 10 million bail and no charges had been dropped from him.

“If at the very first demand of investigators Okruashvili does not return to Georgia, the bail will be transferred to the account of the state budget and his name will be put on the wanted list,” Gvaramia said.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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