Rustavi 2 releases illegally recorded conversations of politicians

The recordings have been released in the TV show Different Accents at Rustavi 2., 11 May 2014 - 01:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

Rustavi 2 television has released illegally obtained secret recordings of private conversations of politicians and businessmen despite warnings from Government officials not to release the footage.

The recordings, released on the Rustavi 2 television show ‘Different Accents’ last night, showed numerous high-profile politicians and businessmen converse about a range of issues.

Those in the footage are:

•Leader of the parliamentary majority David Saganelidze and the president of the Tbilisi Dinamo football club Roman Pipia;

•Parliamentary speaker David Usupashvili and former chairman of the Security Council Giga Bokeria;

•Usupashvili and former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava; and

•Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania and Giga Bokeria.

The show’s anchor, Eka Kvesitadze, who is the wife of the former head of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Analysis, said the recording were given to them by an anonymous source.

In one recording Alasania speaks with Bokeria about ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili's visit to Afghanistan and asks to ensure all events relating to the Georgian soldiers serving in the ISAF mission would be held at Camp Leatherneck, which was more secure than other camps.

In the conversation between the Parliamentary Speaker and former Tbilisi Mayor, the pair are speaking about the Tbilisi budget. Ugulava said since the elections had been announced, changes to the budget were prohibited and as a result, some districts in Tbilisi could face a problem.

The television anchor tried to justify the screening of illegally obtained recordings. She said: "We only offer a few small fragments of these conversations as evidence that eavesdropping is a widespread problem again.”

Bokeria, a United National Movement supporter, confirmed he did have a conversation with Alasania and said the recordings were authentic.

"I cannot remember the exact context of the conversation but it was about an important issue for that time. As the secretary of the National Security Council, I also communicated with representatives of the new Government, firstly about the council sitting, and secondly, about procedures connected with diplomatic appointments, as well as about the president's visit to Afghanistan," Bokeria said on the Rustavi 2 television show last night.

He added this revelation of secret recordings did not solve the problem but added this had deepened the issue.

"I take responsibility that nothing was done to eliminate or reduce the problem [at the time] but it has been almost two years since the new Government came in with a promise to solve this problem and we see that it is not solved," Bokeria said.

Meanwhile UNM representative and former Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, said the recordings were made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.