Ex-defence minister Okruashvili demands freeze on Rustavi 2 shares, says TV is his

Former Defence Minister Irakli Okrushvili says that he will fight in court to have 100 per cent of shares of Rustavi 2 reinstated. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 19 Jul 2019 - 15:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian former Defence Minister under the United National Movement leadership Irakli Okruashvili has addressed Tbilisi City Court to freeze Rustavi 2 shares, which were yesterday returned to his former ally and friend Kibar Khalvashi.

Okruashvili says that Khalvashi represented him when Rustavi 2 was bought ‘by him’ back in 2004.

He says that the document signed by Khalvashi in 2010 in Germany confirms this and says that the real owner of the channel is himsefl and not Khalvashi.

In the document signed in 2010 Khalvashi says that he has no right to the channel and only represented Okruashvili in the purchase deal. The document also says that if Khalvashi decided to act independently, without consent from Okruashvili regarding the channel, he must have paid seven million USD as a fine. He violated the condition,” Okruashvili’s lawyer Gia Zedelashvili says.

Okruashvili was dismissed as Defence Minister in 2006, the same year the channel was seized from Khalvashi. Photo: 1TV. 

He states that next week Okruashvili will file a lawsuit against Khalvashi “to have the channel returned.” 

Khalvashi’s lawyer Paata Salia, who was appointed as the director general of Rustavi 2 yesterday, says that the 2010 document mentioned by Okruashvili contains a fake signature of Khalvashi and an investigation will confirm this.

The European Court of Human Rights upheld the verdict of Georgian courts yesterday and allowed the return of 100 per cent of shares to Khavashi, who argued that the channel was illegally seized from him in 2006 by the United National Movement leadership.

Founders of the channel Jarji Akimidze and David Dvali also say that the channel was illegally seized from them back in 2004.

Khalvashi's lawyer Paata Salia says that Okruashvili has a fake document. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge. 

Who is Irakli Okruashvili?

  • Okruashvili was one of the closest allies of ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and was the country’s Defence Minister for two years, from 2004 to 2006, when he was dismissed.
  • In 2007 he made a scandalous comeback to politics and openly confronted Saakashvili and his government.
  • That same year, Okruashvili was briefly arrested at his party headquarters on charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power.
  • In 2007 he left Georgia and was granted political asylum in France.
  • He returned to Georgia on November 20, 2012, only after the Georgian Dream defeated the nine-year-rule of the United National Movement.
  • Okruashvili now opposes the Georgian Dream leadership. 
  • Last month he created a party, named For a Victorious Georgia, saying it is composed of the people “who are angry with the Georgian Dream and its founder Bidzina Ivanishvili.”  

Transparency International Georgia says in its study that Rustavi 2, which was established in 1994, has changed leadership more than 20 times.