Former member of United National Movement, Koba Bekauri, revealed a high-ranking officials’ involvement in the operation in 2005 that saw the arrest of journalist Shalva Ramishvili on November 26.
Koba Bekauri’s confession
By Keti Arjevanidze
Tuesday, November 27
According to Bekauri, officials ordered him to offer money ($30,000 USD) to Ramishvili in order to stop the preparation of a film, which the investigative studio of TV Company 202 was preparing. The film contained material that showed the commercial activity of Bekauri. According to the Georgian Constitution, the MP was forbidden to run a commercial activity.
Bekauri stated that, he met the former Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili, former General Prosecutor Zurab Adeishvili and former head of the Constitutional Security Department, Data Akhalaia in Akhalaia’s office and remembers the conversation: “The conversation was about how I had to offer Ramishvili the money, after that Ramishvili would be arrested, which I opposed,” the former MP said.
“Adeishvili told me you will give money to Ramishvili, otherwise I will catch and destroy you," remembers Bekauri. According to him, the main motivation of his confession was that he could not “carry this load”.
Bekauri assures that he was forced to participate in the operation, as at that time, the arrests were ordinary and for Adeishvili, it would not be a problem to arrest Bekauri, “at least they could put a gun in my car and arrest me,” Bekauri stated. He admitted that because there was big pressure on him, he did not have a choice.
According to Bekauri, the video material that showed how Ramishvili was taking money, he gave to Gigi Ugulava, the Mayor of Tbilisi, in the building of the Constitutional Security Department.
The former MP also spoke about Mikheil Saakashvili, assuming that Adeishvili agreed the details with Saakashvili. Bekauri added that most of all, Saakashvili wanted the closure of TV Company 202, which Ramishvili guided.
According to the former MP, without reading them, he signed the documents against Ramishvili.
The founders of TV 202, Shalva Ramishvili and David Kokhreidze, were arrested in August of 2005. They were blamed for extortion. Their arrest was based on the video material, which Bekauri transferred to the MIA.
According to Ramishvili, because Bekauri wanted to stop the film, it automatically meant that the footage included the truth and Ramishvili by taking money from Bekauri, could add one more document to the film, but he was arrested and charged with the extortion of $30,000 by MP Bekauri.
Ramishvili was released from the prison in August of 2009. Ramishvili did not plead guilty and refused to appeal for pardon, which could promote his early exemption.