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Family of Turtle Lake murder victim claims UNM member did it

by | Mar 29, 2015
The beach resort Turtle Lake ('Kus Tba')

The victim owned property at Turtle Lake, a popular lake resort right outside Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–A businessman who accused the National Movement government of seizing his property at Turtle Lake was shot to death Saturday morning.

Besik Khardziani was hit by several gunshots, also to his head, near his house in Tbilisi. He was taken to hospital where he later died of his injuries.

Friends and relatives now claim they know who the murderer is. They have gone public with the suspect’s name and surname, and say he is from the National Movement.

Khardziani’s sister believes the murder was ordered by a person who has previously wanted to kill Khardziani, at a time when he was serving a two years prison sentence.

Deprived of lucrative business

She thinks this is because Khardziani owned a lucrative property at a lake resort outside Tbilisi called Turtle Lake (‘Kus Tba’).

During the National Movement government, he was put in jail and his property taken away from him. He claimed that it was because the UNM wanted to force him to share his business with them. After refusing that, he was arrested.

As previously reported by DF Watch, it was common during the Saakashvili regime that the UNM pressured successful business owners to let them have shares in the company. The perhaps most well-known example is Anzor Kokoladze, the founder of Elit Electronics.

In the election for parliament in 2012, the Georgian Dream coalition won on a promise to ‘restore justice’ for people who had been subject to violations, including such forced takeovers.

Also Khardziani began looking for ways to get get back what had been taken from him. He won the initial case in Tbilisi City Court. At the time he was killed, the case was in the Appeals Court.

The family’s lawyer Malkhaz Salakaya told journalists on Saturday that investigators have made a facial composite image of the suspect and have some information about the murderer.

The Prosecutor General’s Office said a group of investigators is working on the case, treating it as premeditated murder.



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