TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia says the director of the embattled television company Rustavi 2 and another person gave contradictory testimony on Thursday in a blackmail case.
Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia claimed Wednesday that he was subject to a blackmail attempt when a friend visited the TV building and passed on a warning from the government which amounted to threats against his family. Gvaramia claimed to have been told that if he wouldn’t ‘step aside’, videos of his personal life or phone conversations would be published.
When questioned by the Prosecutor General’s Office, Gvaramia named the go-between as Alexi Akhvlediani, who headed the organizing committee for Tbilisi 2015, the European Youth Olympic Festival.
Akhvlediani was questioned the same evening. Before going in, he denied that he was a go-between or mediator, but confirmed that he is a friend of Gvaramia’s and the fact that they met at the Rustavi 2 office before Gvaramia made his live TV speech alleging blackmail.
Friday, the Prosecutor General’s Office published a statement about questioning the two and informing that Gvaramia will be summoned for additional questions, as their testimonies differed.
According to the statement, Gvaramia said during questioning that in a message passed from authorities, Akhveldiani told him not to interrupt the lawsuit about the ownership of Rustavi 2, otherwise videos depicting his personal life, phone conversations with ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and other information would be published.
Akhvlediani’s testimony only confirms that the two met on October 21 at Rustavi 2, but he vehemently denied that he passed on any messages from anyone, including threats.
Both said that there was no-one else attending the meeting and none of them recorded the conversation.
Investigators have secured video from surveillance cameras at Rustavi 2 which shows how Akhvlediani came and left the office of Rustavi 2. The room where they met has no surveillance cameras installed.
The lawsuit regarding Rustavi 2 is postponed until Monday, when the judge is expected to announce his ruling.