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Conversation authenticity confirmed

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 15
Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has confirmed that a conversation between Nika Gvaramia, the current head of one of the most influential private broadcasters, Rustavi 2, and already the ex-head of Tbilisi City Court, Mamuka Akhvlediani, is authentic.

In the conversation, Akhvlediani, who was sacked from the position in the wake of the release of the conversation, speaks about the current head of the Supreme Court in a negative context with Gvaramia.

The conversation was recorded by Gvaramia, apparently in the hope that Akhvlediani would say something interesting for him about the Rustavi 2 ownership court dispute. However, Gvaramia claimed he didn’t know how the recording spread onto the internet.

The police summoned Gvaramia for questioning shortly after confirmation that the recording was authentic. Making such recordings, when another person of the conversation isn’t aware they are recorded, contradicts the law.

The recording was released on the internet on October 3 last year, and was leaked online through a Ukrainian portal.

In the conversation, Akhvlediani speaks about Georgia’s current head of the Supreme Court, Nino Gvenetadze, in a negative context, and calls her a “Boxing cushion”.

He also touches upon “loads of work” at the court and says the situation is “catastrophic”.

Gvaramia, who served as Georgia’s Justice and Education Ministers under the previous United National Movement government, said the recording was made by him, as at that time Tbilisi City Court was discussing the ownership issue of Rustavi 2, as the former and current owners were disputing the ownership of the channel’s shares.

Gvaramia said he made the recording as Akhvlediani could say something interesting that could be used as evidence during the trials.

Gvaramia also said the meeting with Akhvlediani was initiated by the former head of the Tbilisi City Court.

Akhvlediani dismissed the claims and insisted he did not know Gvaramia was recording the conversation.

“Gvaramia must at least ask for an official pardon for this,” Akhvlediani says.

Meanwhile, Gvaramia claims he did not know how the recording went viral.

“There are two options. Either it was a cyber-attack on my computer, or there is someone in the State Security Service who releases such recordings online,” Gvaramia said.