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The News in Brief

Wednesday, May 11
Public Defender demands removal of phrases containing stereotypes and stigma

The Public Defender has called on the Ministry of Education and Science to remove phrases containing stigma and stereotypes towards drug addicts and people affected by HIV and AIDS from the 8th grade biology textbook.

According to the Public Defender’s Office, the Public Defender noted that the biology textbook uses a wrong term to describe drug addicts; in addition, drug addicts are perceived as dangerous people to society.

“The textbook also identifies HIV with AIDS and provides false information on the spread of the infections and fight against them. In addition, the textbook provides a 'terrible' photo of a drug addict,” says the proposal.

The Public Defender points out that the phrases, reasoning and wrong information in the textbook strengthens stereotypical attitudes and stigma towards drug addicts and people affected by AIDS and HIV and encourages prejudicial violations of human rights. (IPN)

Offshore Leaks database premieres in Tbilisi

The global launch of the Offshore Leaks database revealed the names of eighty-five Georgian citizens, some of who might potentially be implicated in illegal financial activities.

On Monday May 9, an event organised by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) Caucasus celebrated the global launch of the Offshore Leaks database prepared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) based on data on almost 320 thousand offshore entities found in the Panama Papers.

The database does not give access to the actual documents, although it reveals the names and ID numbers of people and their networks of connection to offshore entities.

Earlier this year, DF Watch published reports based on information found in the Panama Papers which potentially implicates former politicians Bidzina Ivanishvili and Davit Kezerashvili in criminal activities.

The latest release was accompanied by the publication of eighty-five Georgian names which figure in the database in connection to offshore companies.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that these people had anything to do with offshore,” Dave Bloss from OCCRP Caucasus explained.

‘If someone wants to open an offshore account and they’re classified as a PEP — 'politically exposed person', which means that they at some point had anything to do with politics — the legislation of these countries requires a deeper background check of these persons before a company can be created for them. One of the things they do is to Google search the PEP’s name. If a journalist wrote a story about this person, it is possible that the journalist’s name will also show up on this list, which is simply a scan of names from 2.4 terabyte data. Anyone’s name can show up in this database. It’s a database without a brain,” Mr Bloss said.

The list includes the names of Davit Kezerashvili, Ivane Chkhartishvili, Koba Nakopia, and others.

Davit Kezerashvili was a senior official in the UNM government and a former Minister of Defence. He is wanted by the Prosecutor Office in connection with a number of crimes, including exceeding official authority,appropriation of a company, and embezzlement.

Ivane (Vano) Chkhartishvili was the Minister of Economics in 2000–2001 during the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze. His name has been connected to several corruption cases.

Koba Nakopia was an MP representing the United National Movement party in the previous parliament. He was named as a producer of 5 Days of War, a 2011 action film by Renny Harlin depicting the Russo–Georgian war of 2008.

DF Watch publishes the full list of Georgian names found in the Offshore Leaks database. The list also includes names of attorneys. Being present in the list does not necessarily imply any criminal activity. (DF watch)