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Late PM’s Brother to Lead Patarkatsishvili Campaign

Giorgi Zhvania, brother of late PM Zurab Zhvania, will lead presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili’s campaign, replacing MP Valery Gelbakhiani, who has been declared an official suspect in a conspiracy to overthrow the government.

MP Gelbakhiani said by phone on an Imedi TV late night political talk show, On the Air, on December 24 that he was outside Georgia, but “close to the Georgian border.” Gelbakhiani denied the accusations against him and said that he was ready to give testimony to the General Prosecutor’s Office, but “at first he wanted to meet with the UN or the EU mission.”

On December 24 the General Prosecutor’s Office released a covertly recorded video tape of a meeting between Gelbakhiani and Irakli Kodua, head of the Interior Ministry’s Special Operations Department (SOD). With Kodua’s cooperation, the General Prosecutor’s Office said, investigators were able to covertly record two meetings between him and Gelbakhiani during which the latter tells the Interior Ministry official that the plan was “to thwart the election” and “to trigger mass unrest in Tbilisi and in the entire country.”

Gelbakhiani told Imedi TV that he met with Kodua in the latter’s house and his main goal was to have an ally within the Interior Ministry so as to prevent the break-up of possible protest rallies after the January 5 election.

The TV talk show host told Gelbakhiani that his decision to speak so openly with a top level Interior Ministry official in his own house, knowing that the meeting could have been covertly recorded, suggested that he knew of the recording and was in fact cooperating with the authorities. Gelbakhiani rejected such conjecture, saying it was groundless.

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


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