Following the initial reaction by GD officials to the US sanctioning the former Prosecutor General Otar Parstkhaladze, when they claimed in once voice that Partskhaladze has not been in public service during the last 10-11 years, and is a private person, the tone and essence of the more recent GD comments have changed. Parstkhaladze, a scandalous figure and a close associate to Bidzina Ivanishvili was sanctioned on September 15 for channeling Russia’s malign influence in Georgia.
The official investigation into the allegations has yet to be opened by the relevant state structures, as SSSG has only announced about “looking into the matter.” Meanwhile, the GD officials have changed the tone from defense to offence, attempting to shift the burden of proof onto the sanctioning side, or praising Partskhaladze’s personal or professional qualities.
Shalva Papuashvili, Parliament Speaker
“The State Security Service has announced, including publicly, that it has opened an investigation. This is, of course, a serious accusation and, on the other hand, this is the first Georgian citizen to be subjected to this kind of sanction. That is why the SSSG is working on this issue, and among other things, is asking American partners to convey the evidence behind this decision, and as we have said the Georgian public will be fully informed about this process… A person who has had nothing to do with politics or public service for the last 10 years is a private person, and secondly, because this is a serious accusation. That is why the SSSG has started to look into this matter, that is why it is turning to the American side for evidence, and we will have open communication with the public on this issue”.
Archil Talakvadze, Deputy Chairman of the Parliament:
“We should probably assume that Mr. Partskhaladze’s lawyers will find out the details. As for my personal opinion, based on the information that I knew 10 years ago when he was working in the state sector and that I know from public sources, in my opinion Partskhaladze is not the person who would work against Georgia and undermine his country. I think that first of all lawyers should probably get information on what these sanctions are based on.”
Kakha Kaladze, Mayor of Tbilisi
“First of all, it is necessary to publish more information, to give more details. The people of our country deserve to have more information about the Georgian citizen who is supposed to be sanctioned. If we talk about the fact that the investigation of the case has started, then probably the competent agency will ask its colleagues to present more specifics on the issue. Do you remember the case of the judges when there was a restriction on visas? But nobody could understand anything from the explanation, why they [State Department] made this decision, what it was related to. I think that at least when we are talking about a strategic partner and we are making such a decision, we should be given more specifics”.
Irakli Zarkua, MP, 1st Deputy Chair of the Regional Policy and Self-government Committee
“These servants, radicals, have a personal enmity with Mr Partskhaladze – why? Partskhaladze was the one who started putting these torturers in jail…, including Saakashvili, of course they have a personal enmity. Because he did not obey their political interests. So when he was working for them he was an angel, and now, when he has been out of public service for many years, he has become a problem? This is the personal revenge of the radicals on this person, on the Prosecutor’s office.”
Irakli Kadagishvili, MP:
„A lot of Georgians have businesses in Georgia. So should we turn on everybody? When it is said that he had an influence, there has to be some fact or evidence to believe it… That’s why we are interested in more arguments, that’s why the SUS has said that it will conduct an investigation to be more concrete about this…”