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Prosecution Says Covert Recordings Manufactured, Predate 2012 Elections

The Prosecutor’s Office (POG) today said the investigation into the covert recordings, involving current Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Bera Ivanishvili, the son of Georgian Dream founder Bidzina Ivanishvili, and Anzor Chubinidze, who serves as the Head of the Special State Protection Service (SSPS), revealed that the tapes are a fabrication, combining different telephone conversations obtained through wiretapping between October 2011 and October 2012.

According to the POG, Bera Ivanishvili, PM Garibashvili, and the SSPS Head were wiretapped by order of officials in charge of the Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry “under several criminal cases,” and using made-up names. 

The Prosecution claimed the wiretapping began on October 4 of 2011, “a day before Bidzina Ivanishvili formed an opposition political party and made a public statement about running in the 2012 parliamentary elections.” The investigation, therefore, excluded that the conversations were recorded when Garibashvili held a Ministerial post, or when Anzor Chubinidze was the Head of the Special State Protection Service. 

Noting the study of the recordings revealed that the audio recordings show 170 traces of editing, the POG said the mention of the word “Ministers” in the recordings was manufactured by combining different sounds to receive such a result. 

The same expertise, the POG underscored, shows that the voice similar to that of Bera Ivanishvili is in the 13-18 age range at the time of recording; in the 25-30 age range for Irakli Garibashvili, and in the 35-40 age range for Anzor Chubinidze, also indicating that the recordings predate 2012. 

Large-scale covert telephone surveillance was carried out against hundreds of individuals, including Bidzina Ivanishvili, his family, members of the Georgian Dream, as well as pro-opposition politicians, media executives, and journalists, under the same criminal cases, the Prosecutor’s Office also claimed.

Background

The Prosecutor’s Office’s statement comes some three months after TV Pirveli, a Tbilisi-based channel critical to the Georgian Dream Government aired audio conversations, recorded covertly, in which Bera Ivanishvili seems to be tasking current SSPS Chubinidze to humiliate and punish youngsters for online posts insulting the Ivanishvili family. In a separate recorded conversation with Bera Ivanishvili, current PM Garibashvili seems to be informed about these actions and encourages them.

Bera Ivanishvili, PM Gharibashvili, and  SSPS Head Chubinidze did not deny the authenticity of the conversations, though all three of them stressed that they were a fabrication of telephone conversations recorded before 2012.

The POG launched a probe into the legality of obtaining and disseminating the recently aired covert audio conversations on March 9.

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