At a press conference on October 26, the Deputy Interior Minister Vladimer Bortsvadze confirmed the identity of the Zugdidi bank robber, who took 43 persons under hostage, as Badri Esebua.
The Interior Ministry’s announcement comes after pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV disclosed the suspect’s name and occupation yesterday.
In his today’s briefing, Deputy Interior Minister Bortsvadze reprimanded media outlets for revealing the suspect’s identity, adding that the Ministry chose to confirm the information since “some of the public was already aware of it.”
Earlier, yesterday, the Ministry released statement that robber’s identity had been confirmed, albeit withholding the name.
Diverging media reports have emerged about the bank robber’s occupation, with Mtavari Arkhi TV claiming the suspect is an active soldier, while others alleged he has been retired.
The assailant is still at large, some five days after the robbery, Deputy Minister Bortsvadze added.
A man, armed with firearms and hand-grenades broke into the Bank of Georgia building in the western Georgian town of Zugdidi, initially keeping 43 people under hostage, of which at least 19 people have been held for some 8 hours. The assailant demanded USD 500,000 and a safe passage.
After being provided ransom, the robber left the bank premises with four persons, including three hostages and Head of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Police Department Avtandil Galdava, who had acted as a negotiator, letting them go soon afterward.
The Ministry of Interior is leading investigations under Articles 236, 323, 329 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving illegal carrying of ammunition, act of terrorism and taking hostage for terrorist purposes, respectively.