Recordings of Georgian officials dismissed as fabrications
Tuesday, August 9Another set of audio recordings of phone conversations between Georgian top level officials was posted on August 4 on the Russian-language web-site “coroka.net”, which had previously posted phone conversations of Georgian officials with Imedi TV management related to Imedi TV’s coverage of the war. This time Georgian officials were discussing the case against the photojournalists, who were accused in espionage, but were later released under a plea bargain due the huge resistance in Georgia and pressure from the international community.
The website posted six audio recordings claimed to be between the Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili with his subordinate Shota Utiashvili, as well as with the Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili and President Mikheil Saakashvili who were discussing the prospects of further development in the photojournalists’ case. According to the recordings, Minister Merabishvili ascertains some details regarding the case and gives further directions to Utiashvili.
A man in one of the recordings, supposedly the Head of Analytical Service tells, Minister Merabishvili that the phone recordings of the photojournalists were not convincing and could not serve as discrediting evidence. “We should not have released the recording at all” added Utiashvili implying the published conversation of photojournalists about the bank account and money transactions.
In the other conversation the man, supposedly Minister Merabishvili tells his confidante, supposedly President Saakashvili, that “bargaining” with one of the detained photographers Abdaladze “is still underway” and says that a deal would be made in the case of a plea agreement. President Saakashvili favors the news. Merabishvili says that the” negative side of the story”
is that all of them turn out to be agents, on which Saakashvili responds that they all are a part of the generation “which stuck in the past”. “I thought they were a new generation, they are younger then me”, the man, supposedly Merabishvili says.
The Head of the Analytical Department of Internal Ministry Shota Utiashvili, as expected, denied the authenticity of the recordings, stating that he had never had such conversations.
As political analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili stated to the Messenger, the authenticity of the recordings is cogent, as the conversation among Georgian top officials are being published for the second time already. ”As a result of this no spies have been revealed, which questions the competency of the countries' intelligence service”, added Tsiskarishvili.
According to Irakli Sesiashvili it is difficult to prove whether the recordings are authentic or not, though the voices on the recordings are much alike the voices of Georgian officials. Firstly experts, preferably international, should verify the authenticity of the recordings, and consequently an investigation should be held, since the interception of the President’s conversation is a criminal case on which law enforcement bodies should react accordingly.