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Political commotion over authenticity of scandalous audio recording continues

By Khatia Kardava
Tuesday, August 15
The Ukrainian website has released an audio tape this week from famous Russian “telephone hooligans” Vovan and Lexus claiming that Lexus talks with Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Giorgi Mghebrishvili on behalf of Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. According to the audio record, Giorgi Mghebrishvili refers to the ex-president Saakashvili with offensive words requesting from the Ukrainian side not to extradite him. Mghebrishvili allegedly says this position is agreed with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

The audio tape has caused some stir in Georgian political circles. The opposition parties demand timely launch of investigation to check the authenticity of the audio recording. While the ruling party believes the audio conversation is fake.

"We have no doubt that this is an authentic recording. Moreover, we remember such calls in Georgia about a month ago, when the recording of the Minister of Culture was released. We demand an immediate start of the investigation, since the content contains signs of a crime. The sound expertise should be conducted," said the opposition MP Roman Gotsiridze.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs rejected the authenticity of the audio record Georgia’s Interior Ministry states “no such conversation” took place between two ministers.

“Even the fact that two ministers are speaking about state-important issues on an unprotected telephone cannot be taken seriously,” the Ministry’s press office said.

Nika Melia, the chairman of the UNM political council, said that “considering the Ministry of Internal Affairs has rejected the authenticity of the tape, we demand the government send it to the bureau of international expertise in the coming days."

The statement made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia on the above mentioned record is quite sufficient for Tamar Chugoshvili, Vice-Speaker of Parliament.

"Ministry of Internal Affairs made a statement on this issue. When high-ranking officials are interacting with each other, their privacy is guaranteed. I cannot imagine that this conversation could actually happen,” said Chugoshvili.

Ex-president of Georgia and former governor of Odessa district Mikheil Saakashvili responded to the scandal related to Giorgi Mghebrishvili via social network - Facebook. According to Saakashvili, current government is afraid of his arrival in Georgia because he knows that people will come out in the streets of Tbilisi and all the allegations against him are fabricated.

Russian pranksters say they are ready to hand over the tape to "any expertise."

The Georgian authorities have not started the investigation yet.