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The war of compromising material continues

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, September 27
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) released secret audio material which, according to detective Levan Tsiklauri, reveals the details of engagement of Georgian organized crime figures involved in Georgian politics and their connection with particular Georgian politicians.

Tsiklauri said that Dato Khizanishvili detained on September 23, followed the directions of Lasha Shushanashvili another criminal. According to the official statement by the MIA, Khizanishvili together with organized criminal gang members oppressed voters at different precincts, compelling them to vote for the Georgian Dream.

Levan Revishvili is also mentioned in the MIAs audio material as a criminal authority controlling the intimidation campaign. However, according to information reported by Maestro TV, Revishvili is the coordinator of the ruling UNM. One of Revishvili’s neighbors told the TV company that she knows nothing about Revishvili’s criminal activities but the Revishvili brothers are actively engaged in the UNM’s campaign.

Meanwhile, the ruling party’s spokesperson Chiora Taktakishvili denied such a fact. “Levan Revishvili is not the UNM’s coordinator,” she said, without knowing why that person tried to “mask” his criminal activities by wearing the UNM’s T-shirt in his Facebook photos.

Kakha Kaladze the first number on the list of the Georgian Dream and the majoritarian candidate in Samtredia, was also accused of cooperation with organized criminal elements. MIA said “the recording explicitly reveals the fact of meeting of Kakhi Kaladze with eight Georgian “thieves-in-law” abroad and his close relationship with this criminal grouping.”

Kaladze called the MIA’s material “foolishness.” He said he really had connections with the thieves, but they were President Mikheil Saakashvili, PM Vano Merabishvili, Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili and their clan. “And I apologize to society for that,” he stated.

The “deal” between Gubaz Sanikidze, the Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Kutaisi and Valeri Khaburzania, the former Minister of Security during Edward Shevardnadze’s government was also recorded. In the audio material released by MIA Sanikidze offered money to Moscow based Khaburzania for releasing one of the thieves-in-law from the Russian prison.

Sanikidze called the audio material “fabrication of Saakashvili’s government” through “modern technology” stressing that he has never had any connections with the thieves. Recollecting how Khaburzania was called “the hero of the Rose Revolution” Sanikidze told Maestro TV that although he and Khaburzania are friends he has not talked to Khaburzania for over four months because of his campaign activities in Kutaisi.

Shevadrnadze’s government member Khaburzania is known as the official who opened the doors of Parliament for Saakashvili and his supporters in 2003.

Destabilization or Fabrication?

One day earlier, the General Prosecutor's Office released “confidential” material from the French National Gendarmerie about the possible cooperation between the former State Minister Goga Khaindrava and French- based Georgian criminal.

The “precise Georgian translation” of the document with the screenshots from video surveillance released by Georgia’s chief prosecutor Murtaz Zodelava, on September 25 alleges that Khaindrava asks a Georgian “thieve-in-law” Revaz Lortkipanidze, to help in the parliamentary and presidential elections with finances and possibly with weapons. The Georgian text reads that Khaindrava together with other oppositionists aimed at causing destabilization and violence in the country for overthrowing the current regime.

The French Foreign Ministry was “surprised that the Georgian authorities have made public information under the secret instruction concerning a pending case in France, which confirmed the possibility of collusion between Georgian opposition and criminal groups from Georgia working in France.”

French authorities have authorized such disclosure, which also is not in their power. “In a sensitive pre-election context, which has been further worsened by cases of torture in the Georgian penitentiary, use of any case that is pending investigation can affect the proper conduct of the elections," the statement reads. France called for the Georgian authorities to make every effort to ensure that elections are conducted peacefully.

Renaud Salins, the French Ambassador to Georgia, said the secret information that was exchanged between the countries cannot be publicly revealed. He said France, like every European Union member state, supports peaceful elections in Georgia. “Whichever party will be the leader, it will be the people’s choice,” he stated.

But Georgian Deputy Minister of Justice Tina Burjaliani who mediated between Georgia and France was surprised with the French Ministry’s statement. According to Burjaliani, Georgian and French law enforcement agencies had straight communication so that the French diplomatic services were not involved at any stage of this cooperation. Highlighting that Georgia has not taken responsibility for maintaining confidentiality because of “important security issues” and “the possible criminal activities of public people,” she said Georgia acted within international legal frames.

Putting the authenticity of the information under question, Khaindrava called it a farce. After being questioned on Tuesday night he admitted meeting his childhood friend Lortkipanidze in France in 2011 but denied talking about political issues. The former State Minister, film director and one of the founders of the Voters’ List, requested an explanation from the French Embassy about the allegations. Goga Khaindrava will be again questioned today.

Ivliane Khaindrava connected the accusations against his brother with Goga’s recent documentary film The Beacon of Democracy criticizing president Saakashvili’s governance.