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The News in Brief

Friday, December 25
Prisoner participates in singing contest, is pardoned and given car

A woman who has twice been convicted of robbery is participating in the Voice of Georgia talent show. She was released by the Prison Minister live during the show and given a car.

The Voice casted Teona Kolbaia at the 5th prison facility a few months ago. She was given singing lessons in prison, and was escorted from the prison to Tbilisi to take part in the preliminary rounds of the song contest.

Prison Minister Kakha Kakhishvili appeared live on stage Tuesday and announced that Kolbaia has been pardoned. Before his announcement, Kolbaia performed the song ‘Kyrie Eleison’, written by Patriarch Ilia II.

“The guards will not drive you back to take your personal objects from jail. We will give you a car of your own,” the minister told her.

He said that he wishes for more people to return to their families.

On May 5, 2012, police arrested Kolbaia for the second time, along with Temur Batsashvili, who also had been convicted in the past.

The two used to rob taxi drivers with toy guns. They had selected a place to stop taxis, and asked to be driven to a deserted place, where they forced the driver to give them his money, mobile phone and car, threatening him with toy guns. They also allegedly stole 250 laris from a food market. (

MPs Back Loan Agreements to Finance Air Defence Acquisition

On December 23, Parliament ratified loan agreements to finance two contracts signed by Georgia in Paris in summer on EUR 77.63 million acquisition of air defense system.

One of these two defense deals was signed by the Georgian Ministry of Defense with a producer of ground-based surveillance radars and air defense command and control systems ThalesRaytheonSystems on June 15.

Another contract was signed by the MoD with missile manufacturer MBDA France on July 10.

Neither the values nor content of the two contracts were reported by the officials at the time.

Information about type of the equipment and services Georgia is purchasing remains confidential, but the value of the contracts was made public as a result of loan agreements Georgia has signed to raise funds for air defence system acquisitions.

The loan agreements with French bank Societe Generale were signed by the Georgian Finance Ministry on December 8.

A 5-year EUR 82.82 million loan is backed by the France’s export credit agency Coface and is split in several portions with interest rates ranging from 1.27% to 2.1%%.

EUR 52.65 million from the total loan amount will be used to finance the purchase of unspecified equipment and services from ThalesRaytheonSystems, which produces ground-based surveillance radars and air defense command and control systems.

EUR 24.98 million will be directed to finance acquisitions from missile manufacturer MBDA France.

The remaining amount of the loan – EUR 5.19 million – is for risk mitigation and other costs, including Coface’s premium.

The French air defense deals became a source of accusations between ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats party and the government in spring, 2015.

In early April, Alasania claimed the government had abandoned the preliminary deal – a non-binding memorandum of understanding, which he negotiated in France in late October, shortly before being sacked from the Defence Minister’s post. The allegation was strongly denied at the time by-then Defence Minister Mindia Janelidze, who is now secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council; he was saying that talks were underway to sign the deal. The two agreements were finalized within following couple of months and signed by Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli, who replaced Janelidze in early May.

During a brief discussion about the loan agreements in Parliament before the ratification on December 23, MP Irakli Chikovani from Alasania’s Free Democrats party welcomed the fact that the contracts on the acquisition of the air defence systems were signed.

“This is a significant step forward towards increasing our defence capabilities, but we believe that capabilities should further be improved, which could have been possible in frames of a project of larger scale,” MP Chikovani said. (

MIA Judo club became the winner of the Golden League

MIA Judo club has won the high-rank European club championship – “Golden League” and returned home with the winner’s cup.

The athletes were met by representatives and officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security Police at Tbilisi International Airport as well as fans, family members and media.

The MIA’s “Fighter” Judo club met their German opponents and defeated them with a score 3:2. In the final contest, Adam Okruashvili (contending in the heavyweight category) emerged triumphant. Before the finals, the Georgian judo club competed against and defeated French (3:2) and Portuguese (3:2) rival clubs.

This was the second participation of the Georgian Judo Club on the European stage. In the previous year, Georgian sportsmen became the winners of the lower league. Next year, the MIA Judo club will participate in the continent's strongest team championship.

Under the initiative of the Minister of Internal Affairs and with the support of Security Police Department, the Judo Club of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was founded in May 2014. The Club is mainly comprised of Judokas from the national team of Georgia who are participants of international tournaments and world championships. Some of the national team members returned from Japan several days ago. (