TBILISI, DFWatch–The Appeals Court in Georgia on Thursday acquitted the head of Rustavi 2 TV in a corruption case.
Rustavi 2 boss Nika Gvaramia was charged with accepting a bribe, money laundering, preparing fake financial documents, using them and helping in false entrepreneurship.
The channel Gvaramia heads it the only one still loyal to Mikheil Saakasvhili, and recently gave him an exclusive interview in which he smeared billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, the architect of the government coalition.
Gvaramia was released against a 30,000 lari (USD 18,000) bail, and this money must now be returned to him within a month.
Tbilisi City Court acquitted Gvaramia and other persons charged in the same case on November 14, 2013.
The other people charged in the case are former Energy Minister Alexandre Khetaguri, Kakhaber Damenia, Izabela Gutidze, Giorgi Nemsitsveridze, Devi Kandelaki and Ashot Manukiani.
All seven were charged with receiving bribes and falsifying documents. They were acquitted in both the city court and the appeals court.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, they had a deal with the Russian power company Inter Rao, which owns assets in Georgia. The goal was to let the power stations Khrami 1, Khrami 2 and Mtkvari thermal power plant avoid having to pay taxes by not having a tax audit. This was arranged in return for a one million dollar bribe, prosecutors argued.
Georgia’s court system has been subject to distrust from different directions lately; the former ruling party, the National Movement, claims the judges are instruments of the government, while a bishop in the Georgian Orthodox Church said the judges are still under the influence of the National Movement. Foreign prosecutors were recently brought in to offer advice on the cases.