Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office held a special briefing on April 1 to inform the public over the ongoing investigation concerning the leak of sex tapes on the Internet that rocked Georgia on March 11-14-31 this year.
FBI expert in Georgia to help local agencies investigate leak of sex tapes
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 4
The Office stated that Georgia’s law enforcement bodies had carried out over 200 investigative and procedural actions to find those committing the crimes, with America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was also lending assistance.
The Prosecutor’s Office said that as part of the cooperation, in addition to the expertise and legal assistance requested, they asked their American counterparts to assign a highly qualified expert for sharing experience in the investigation process.
“The United States (US) authorities immediately expressed their readiness to provide assistance and guidance. Consequently, a representative of the FBI arrived in Georgia and has been consulting the special investigation team of the Prosecutor’s Office for the past several days,” the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said.
“Notably, the Prosecutor’s Office has been in active cooperation with the US authorities remotely as per the emerging needs of the investigation,” the Office added.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted over the encroachment of information related to private lives. The Prosecutor’s Office said they would continually inform the public over the pace of the investigation and thanked the US Embassy and the FBI for their ‘continued support and guidance in the investigation process.’
Hundreds of videos reflecting the private lives of Georgian citizens were illegally taped and stored by the previous United National Movement (UNM) government to blackmail people.
The majority of the videos were publicly destroyed by the current Government in 2013 after the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the UNM in the 2012 elections. However, a certain number of videos, apparently not related to peoples' private lives, were saved to help future investigations.
However, since 2014, several videos of a sexual nature have been released on the Internet, the latest occurring during March this year..
One video released on YouTube on March 11 allegedly depicting an opposition party leader caused a stir in Georgia and mass condemnation. More than a hundred people managed to watch it before it was removed.
On March 14 another video similar in content appeared on Youtube but it was immediately blocked.
On March 15, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia charged five people for keeping this type of illegal videos but the agency did not specify whether these people were responsible for the leak.
Some videos were again sent to several journalists yesterday that were immediately blocked from public viewership.
The Georgian Government said it was “attack on the Government”, with many parliamentary majority members blaming the former authorities for the leak, while the UNM and Free Democrats opposition parties said the current Government and Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili stood behind the releases.