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Rukhadze lashes out with words, and Khalvashi in a film2009-02-05 09:42
As the local media report, Irakli Rukhadze - a former partner of the disgraced oligarch, presidential candidate and now deceased Badri Patarkatsishvili - has spoken about terror organized by the state.
"They demanded that I persuade Inna Gudavadze (the widow of Badri Patarkatsishvili, who died in February 2008) to agree to Joseph Kay's proposal to transfer most of the assets to him, as well as to hand over the "Borjomi" company to the manager of "Wimm-Bill-Dann" David Yakobashvili," said Irakli Rukhadze.
And he gave the names of the people behind these insistent requests: the mayor of the capital Giga Ugulava and the former defence minister David Kezerashvili. "The conversation took place in the mayor's office, although it was mainly the defence minister talking to me," affirms Rukhadze, who, according to him, is now in London.
The GHN news agency notes that these are the first statements from Rukhadze since a Mercedes belonging to him exploded on Shardeni Street in Tbilisi, right in front of the Maidan Palace hotel on 24 June 2008.
The story of Patarkatsishvili's assets and the television channel Imedi (Hope) that belonged to him has caused an enormous sensation. During last November's rallies the opposition demanded that the authorities return the TV channel to its lawful owners - the Patarkatsishvili family. The opposition is intending to make this same demand during the protest actions planned for the spring.
In late 2007 Imedi's offices were stormed by the riot place, in order to teach its owner not to continue making anti-government declarations. The television station was allowed to resume broadcasting at the West's insistence, but only in May 2008. However, it is now no longer an opposition channel, but an entertainment one. The authorities explain the change in subject matter as the wish of the new owner.
Following the death of Badri Patarkatsishvili, his step-brother, a US citizen Joseph Kay (Iosif Kakalashvili), declared his right to take ownership of the television channel. He presented documents, which allegedly act as evidence that the property and shares in the TV company were re-registered into his name. Members of Patarkatsishvili's family and representatives of the Georgian opposition accused Joseph Kay of fraud and using fake documents. In their opinion, he was acting in collusion with the Georgian authorities, in whose interests it was to put an end to the channel's opposition slant.
In November 2008 Patarkatsishvili's widow Inna Gudavadze wrote an open letter to President Saakashvili asking him to help to return the TV station to her. Emphasizing that she has no political ambitions, but that she understood that in this case the president's intervention was essential.
But he has kept silent ever since. Rukhadze's revelations merely confirm the opposition's theory: that the state is following its own interests and intends to seize the assets of Imedi and other companies belonging to Patarkatsishvili.
Meanwhile, there have been further developments in another story. On 30 January in the public defender's office the film Code of Revenge was shown, which relates the persecution of Kibar Khalvashi - a friend of the former defence minister Irakli Okurashvili and the former director general of the TV station Rustavi-2. The creator of the film, journalist Vakhtang Komakhdize, uses documentary footage in the film of both Khalvashi's office being sealed off and his relatives and friends being persecuted.
It should be noted that in the middle of January Khalvashi was granted political exile status in Germany.