Ex-director general of TV channel Rustavi 2 Gvaramia charged with misspending of funds

Ex-head of Rustavi 2 says he is politically persecuted. Photo: Rustavi 2.

Agenda.ge, 06 Sep 2019 - 16:05, Tbilisi,Georgia

 Former Director General of Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia, who previously served as the country’s minister of justice, has been summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office to be charged with the misspending of the funds of the channel which was returned to its former owner in July.

Earlier in August Gvaramia was charged with abuse of power, causing a serious financial damage to the opposition-minded channel.

Two other individuals will be charged with him on the case.

Gvaramia says that the charges “are invented,” and “I am happy to live in a democratic country.”

The Prosecutor’s Office reports that in January 2015 Gvaramia signed an agreement with LTD Intermedia+, on behalf of Rustavi 2, to allow the LTD place ads on the channel.

Intermedia was obliged to transfer 90-95 per cent of the profit gained from commercials to Rustavi 2 and retain only the remaining 10 or five per cent for its service.

Gvaramia has been the director of Rustavi since since 2012. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

The Prosecutor’s Office stated that after former owner of Rustavi 2 Kibar Khalvashi filed a lawsuit to regain his shares back in August 2015, Gvaramia, a Financial Director of Rustavi 2 Kakhaber Damenia and head of Intermedia + Zurab Iashvili agreed to transfer fewer money to Rustavi 2.

Through the step the channel suffered 6,763,509 GEL ($2.3 million) loss,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Prosecutor’s Office stated that in exchange for the “benefit for Intermedia” Gvaramia received two flats in Tbilisi from the LTD head Iashvili.

The Prosecutor’s Office reports that to “conceal the illegality regarding the deal and the flats,” Gvaramia and Iashvili fabricated documents.

The Prosecutor’s Office reports that Damenia will be charged with misspending of funds, while Iashvili will face charged for bribery and fabrication of documents.

The European Court of Human Rights ruling allowed the return of 100 per cent of Rustavi 2 shares to its former owner Khalvashi in mid-July, who argued that Rustavi 2 was illegally seized from him by the former United National Movement (UNM) government in 2006.

Gvaramia became a director of Rustavi 2, one of the most influential TV channels in Georgia founded in 1993, in 2012 and was promoted to the position of director general in 2014.