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Bondo Shalikiani – A victim of Georgian politics2012-08-13 17:23
A former MP of Georgia Bondo Shalikiani was killed in Minsk, Belarus, on August 7. Under Shevardnadze, he was one of the most influential people in the country, actual head of the region of Imereti. After the "Rose Revolution" he got problems with the new power, because of which he fled to Minsk.
Number of the media, reporting on the murder of Shalikiani, called him a criminal authority. In mid-2000s, the Georgian government really accused him of having links with the gangster world. Most likely, it was true, because under Shevardnadze such people like Bondo Shalikiani hardly could avoid friendship with crime in Georgia.
Valery Gelbakhiani, one of former "bosses" of Shevardnadze's era, recently returned to his homeland from Belarus, where he lived in exile for several years. In an interview to GTimes he said he was confident in a contract nature of Shalikiani's murder.
Catherine Mindadze, Shalikiani's wife, and their two children live in Kutaisi. Mindadze actually accuses the current government in the murder of her husband. "This is the work of those people who have illegally taken away from our estate and forced Bondo to leave the homeland", she said.
Shalikiani controlled the oil business in Imereti. Also, he owned TV-company "Kutaisi". One could say he was magnate. He was engaged in the production of medicines, gambling business, copper.
Bondo Shalikiani began his political activities in 1990. In 2002, he was elected a member of the Kutaisi City Assembly, and in 2003, after the parliamentary election, he became MP. He ran as a majority member from the town of Tkibuli.
Only a few months after the "Rose Revolution" Shalikiani was arrested. It happened on March 5, 2004. The new government paid tribute to an influential businessman: the then Minister of Internal Affairs Irakli Okruashvili, now a political refugee too, personally came to put handcuffs on him. The arrest took place in the best tradition of the 30s of last century. Law enforcers broke into his place at 3 a.m. and took him almost naked, wearing only shorts.
A few months later Shalikiani was released, but in the meantime his pocket has rather "thin". He was taken away a network of petrol stations, the shares of Kutaisi Automobile Plant and a resort Sairme, a pharmaceutical factory in Kutaisi, TV-company and even more.