Georgian authorities have begun criminal proceedings against two ex-Government officials accused of assaulting a Member of Parliament almost 10 years ago.
Today the Chief Prosecutors’ Office of Georgia announced it had began criminal proceedings against ex-Interior Ministry officials Erekle Kodua and Gia Siradze. The Office claimed the men were guilty in absentia for abuse of power and beating wealthy businessman and MP Valeri Gelashvili in 2005. Gelashvili is still an MP today.
Kodua was the country’s former director of the Special Operative Department (SOD) of the Interior Ministry while Siradze was the head of one of the offices of the SOD.
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia initially laid charges against Kodua on March 17 and a red notice was issued by Interpol on April 7.
Today Kodua and Siradze were accused of crimes relating to Article 237 Part 4 and Article 333 Part 3 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, and if found guilty in a Georgian court of law, the men could face ten to fourteen years imprisonment.
The Prosecutor’s Office claimed events unfolded after Gelashvili appeared in an interview with Resonansi newspaper in June 2005. Following this, Kodua organized for Gelashvili to be beaten up and ordered Siradze to oversee this action and "guide” those who were to assault the MP.
The Office said about 2pm on July 14, 2005, several masked men armed with automatic weapons forced Gelashvili and his two companions out of the vehicle they were travelling before the three men were attacked. Gelashvili’s firearm was stolen and numerous documents inside the vehicle were also taken.
The two men travelling with Gelashvili were a bodyguard and an employee of the Evra construction company, which Gelashvili owned.
In a later interview with Rustavi 2 television, Gelashvili blamed the then-authorities for his attack and linked the incident with a row involving the Presidential Residence, which was being built by the Evra construction firm.
Leaders of the then-ruling United National Movement party noted it was of "special importance” to investigate the incident.
In 2002 Gelashvili purchased 2,300 square meters of land located in Tbilisi’s Avlabari district and began constructing a private apartment. This area was adjacent to the building which was the previous office of the Road Traffic Police.
According to the Evra website, in 2004 Gelashvili was requested by authorities to hand over this apartment building to the state after the government decided to transform the nearby Road Traffic Police building into the new Presidential residence.
Gelashvili agreed but requested the right to carry out construction works of the new Presidential residence. The authorities agreed and Evra continued construction at the site.
Meanwhile the Chief Prosecutors’ Office has launched an investigation to identify the other people involved in the assault of Gelashvili.