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Rustavi 2 Director General repeatedly summoned for questioning

10.05.14 19:30

Director General of Rustavi 2 TV Company Mr. Nika Gvaramia  has been summoned for questioning to Chief Prosecutor`s Office for tomorrow.

As reported, the director general of the TV company is expected to be questioned on the issues he spoke about at yesterday`s pressconference, however representatives of the prosecutor`s office have not specified the exact details so far.

The prosecutor`s office released yesterday (Friday) what it called an “interim report” into investigation of Rustavi 2 TV bugging case, suggesting that surveillance cameras in the private television station’s headquarters in Tbilisi were possibly installed in December, 2012 by a security service, which at the time was under then president Mikheil Saakashvili’s subordination.

Suggestion is based on testimony provided to prosecutors by a former employee of Rustavi 2 TV, who was in charge of TV headquarters’ security and who also claims that Rustavi 2 TV’s chief executive Nika Gvaramia was aware that the office was bugged.

Rustavi 2 TV’s director Gvaramia denied the allegation as “utter lie” and accused the former employee of bugging offices in the television station upon the authorities’ instructions. Gvaramia also said that he was not even asked about these allegations when he and other representatives of the company were questioned by investigators in prosecutor’s office earlier on May 9.

At the pressconference at Rustavi 2`s office Nika Gvaramia said that with this statement the prosecutor’s office has actually “confirmed” that the current authorities are in fact behind this bugging case.

Referring to two former security employees of Rustavi 2 TV as “agents”, Gvaramia said that Kovziashvili and Mkerlishvili were those two men who immediately fell under the Rustavi 2 TV leadership’s suspicion after learning that the offices had been bugged.

Standing alongside with his two deputies, Nino Shubladze, who is also head of TV station’s newsroom, and Dudu Kurdgelia at the news conference, Gvaramia accused Kovziashvili and Mkerlishvili of placing surveillance cameras in the offices upon instructions of the authorities; he also claimed that actions of Kovziashvili and Mkerlishvili were handled by Vladimer Bunturidze, who is now in charge of security of the penitentiary system and was chief of Rustavi 2 TV’s security up until December, 2012.

He denied Kovziashvili’s testimony that he was informed about presence of surveillance cameras.

According to Rustavi 2 TV executives on December 21, 2012 several offices in the headquarters were inspected to check whether there were any bugging devices there.

At the time, newly appointed Rustavi 2 TV chief executive Nika Gvaramia, who held senior government posts in Saakashvili’s administration till late 2009, was under detention, facing charges in alleged corruption case; Gvaramia was released on bail on December 22, 2012 and last year court found him not guilty.
 
According to Rustavi 2 TV executives, after Gvaramia was arrested on December 20, 2012, owners of the station decided to inspect the headquarters to check if there was any bugging device in the offices. Video footage from station’s CCTV cameras, released by prosecutor’s office, shows that very inspection, according to Rustavi 2 TV executives, who strongly deny suggestion that bugging devices were installed during that inspection.  According to deputy chief executive of Rustavi 2 TV, Dudu Kurdgelia, he or other employees were in presence when “specialists” were working in the offices; no bugging device was found at the time; they also said that they do not know whether those “specialists”, invited by TV station owners, were from SSPS or not.

“We were being questioned for two hours today in prosecutor’s office and while there was a testimony claiming that we knew about presence of [bugging devices] in our offices, there was not a single question asked by [investigators] about this allegation,” Gvaramia said. “Rustavi 2 actually has to deal with two prosecutor’s offices – the one which really investigates this case and which has already gathered lots of pieces of evidence and another one which follows political orders and disseminating scenarios prepared by the Prime Minister [Irakli Garibashvili] about how to wage war against our media outlet.”

“I promise to those in the authorities, who are now fabricating this case, that… I will make your life a living hell. I also promise that I will expose even worse cases than this one; I wonder what you have to say after we will let you listen how you are eavesdropping your own senior officials – was that also done by us?” Gvaramia said, but did not elaborate into details of what sounded as a warning against the authorities that more recordings are expected to be released.

Nika Gvaramia intends to arrive at the prosecutor`s office for questioning on Sunday.

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