TBILISI, DFWatch – Police in Georgia Thursday entered the offices of a company affiliated with Bidzina Ivanishvili, the billionaire who is trying to mount a challenge to President Saakashvili in a parliamentary election in October.
Police went into the offices of Elita Burji Ltd in the capital Tbilisi, and in Kobuleti, a small town on the Black Sea. The offices contain equipment used to distribute Ivanishvili’s TV station via satellite. The equipment belongs to Global TV, a cable network whose largest owner is Ivanishvili’s brother, and currently the only network carrying Channel 9, the TV station associated with the billionaire’s opposition movement Georgian Dream.
Local media started reporting police intervention into buildings owned by Elita Burji in Tbilisi and Kobuleti Thursday afternoon. The police are seizing satellite receivers belonging to Global TV.
Earlier the same day, the Chef Prosecutor’s Office announced its decision to ‘temporarily’ seize thousands of satellite receivers owned by Global Contact Consulting before they could be installed. (http://dfwatch.net/georgia-intervenes-against-ivanishvilis-fortune-56490 )
Global TV is renting offices from Elita Burji, and it’s inside these offices that the satellite receivers of the cable company are located.
Channel 9, a new TV channel run by associates of Georgian Dream, reports that satellite receivers are also being seized in office in Samtredia, a small town in western Georgia.
Information Agency of Kakheti, eastern Georgia reports that police are also striking in Kvareli, a small town. Installation of the satellite receivers are suspended there. Police are seizing what remains of satellite equipment there.
Irakli Shavadze, lawyer of Global TV, tells journalists that police in Kobuleti did not present court a order to lawyers that were present.
‘The place where they are now conducting seizure process there is one employee of the company, who is under psychologic pressure right now. Also I asked for a court order for entering the building of the company, but they refused to show it.’
Later Global TV provided journalists with a scanned court order, which occurs not to have a judge’s signature nor a seal.
Police are not letting anyone into the seized offices in Tbilisi. There are several employees inside the building. Lawyers are also not letting anyone into the offices of Tbilisi and Kobuleti.
This evening Tbilisi City Court announced that they have approved the coordinated police operation. The court informs that it received a request from the prosecutor’s office to seize equipment belonging to Global Contact Consulting.
“Tbilisi City Court reviewed the request without an oral hearing by law defined rules and approved it.”
The statement says the the request was in electronic form, so judge Vazha Pukhashvili signed it in electronic form too. This form excludes the necessity of a seal, which is a new regulation adopted in May, 2011, allowing courts to conduct proceedings in purely electronic form.