MP Nato Chkheidze says the 2004 developments around Iberia TV and Omega Group were orchestrated by Mikheil Saakashvili
The hearing on the case of Iberia TV closure and the seizure of its broadcasting license was held at the Tbilisi City Hall. The witness of the prosecution, MP Nato Chkheidze gave testimony to the court today.
She narrated the most important developments of 2004, specifically, the details of how former authorities and prosecution officials, were urging her husband, the founder of Omega Group, Zaza Okuashvili, to give up the control stock of Omega Group and even more with the mediation of other businessmen. She said they were also urging him to give up the broadcasting license of Iberia TV promising to withdraw riot police from the premises of Omega Group’s companies instead, after which they would be able to resume working.
According to the witness, Zaza Okuashvili refused to transfer his shares of business and fled the country, after which the offices and enterprises of Omega Group were raided and looted by the riot police.
The enterprises incorporated in Omega Group were enabled to resume working after the acknowledgement of tax obligations and the forceful seizure of the Iberia TV broadcasting license. As the witness said, this happened a year after the police raid in the companies.
Nato Chkheidze also stated at the court today that in 2004, the riot police assault on Omega Group’s companies and the seizure of Iberia TV’s broadcasting license was orchestrated by former president
“With this assault on Omega Group and Iberia TV, the pressure on televisions was actually launched,” – Nato Chkheidze told reporters after the hearing. She also added that in that period the authorities used to become influential only in case they fulfilled the instructions perfectly and as soon as they did not do so, they would no longer be influential or reliable.
As the prosecutor of the case Emzar Gagnidze told reporters after the hearing the witness described the situation, in which the senior officials used to oppress the company management with psychological pressure with the purpose of seizing Omega Group’s control stock.
The case of Iberia TV closure and the forceful seizure of its broadcasting license was investigated by the prosecutor’s office in 2016 and since then the case is being discussed at the Tbilisi City Court. The defendants in the case are the former prosecutor general, Zurab Adeishvili and his first deputy, Giorgi Latsabidze. The name of former president Mikheil Saakashvili is also mentioned in the case as the person, who orchestrated those developments.
The riot police started its raid in Iberia TV and other companies incorporated in Omega Group on the 19th of February, 2017.