Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili states that former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania’s death might be connected with money. Saakashvili stressed that after Zhvania’s death, the deceased PM’s wife Nino Kadagidze came to him, asking about a large amount of money the former PM received two days prior to his death. Saakashvili made the statements during his interview with Rustavi 2 on March 26 in Kiev.
Saakashvili speaks about Zhvania’s death
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 27
"She came and I asked her what she was speaking about when she had seen everything, as she was there on the scene after the death. She replied that she did not have any claims to me, but mentioned Zura owned a lot of money, as all politicians did. I replied that I did not have any money and asked her to make it clear about what she was talking about,” Saakashvili stated.
According to Saakashvili, Kadagidze said one person told her that Zura was given a lot of money two days before his death and she wanted to receive part of that money, which she supposed could be in his bodyguards’ hands.
The former President also stated that Zhvania’s exhumation would prove the truth about the late PM’s death. However, the government wants the issue to always be on the agenda. Saakashvili also stressed he did not intend to come to Georgia, stating that there are just two states he cannot travel to (Georgia and Russia). The former President emphasized that it is in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interest to see him either dead or in prison. Saakashvili reiterated that former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili fulfils Putin’s demands and that Ivanishvili has a deal with the Russian FSB.
The family of the late Prime Minister respond to Saakashvili
Zhvania’s family members called the ex-president’s statements “unscrupulous”. According to them, they have been refraining from making any comments, as the investigation of Zhvania’s case under the new government of Georgia is its final stage. Kadagidze stressed that she really had several conversations with Saakashvili who told her “to ask him anything but about the investigation of the death.”
Kadagidze stated that he mentioned money only in one context.
“When doubts were raised whether it was gas intoxication or murder, I named several versions during a talk with Saakashvili. Due to the fact that my husband’s safe was opened and private things were stolen as well, I expressed my suspicion that that someone might have killed my husband for self-interests,” Kadagidze said.
She stressed that the recent fuss over the case is caused by the United National Movement (UNM) members, who want to give the issue a political connotation and after the investigation start claiming that the UNM members are politically persecuted.
“Very soon experts will arrive in Georgia. The current fuss is not in our interests,” Gogla Zhvania, the late PM’s brother stated.
Opinion of the coalition and UNM differ
Member of the Georgian Dream coalition Gia Volski states that Saakashvili wants to be “more scandalous” and attract attention. “He linked Zhvania’s death to some kind of financial deal… that was the essence of his words,” Volksi states.
Minister of Energy Kakhi Kaladze is “200% sure” that Saakashvili lied concerning Zhvania. He has stated that Saakashvili should come to Georgia and answer all questions the Prosecutor’s Office has (Saakashvili is summoned for interrogation on March 27 regarding 10 different cases).
UNM member Giorgi Kandelaki states that the coalition wants to gain political profit from a death that was caused by intoxication.
“It is an immoral action and very soon they will be ashamed for their speculations,” Kandelaki stated.
Head of the Political Technologies Research Centre, Kakha Kakhishvili, told The Messenger that Saakashvili’s statements were completely unconvincing for him. “Saakashvili has tried to shift all attention to money and discredit both Zhvania and his wife. He wanted the public to be indignant as if Zhvania’s wife was trading with his husband’s death,” Kakhishvili stated, adding that in this context Saakashvili has tried as well to display himself as a “very clean” politician.