The Head of the State Security Service of Georgia, Grigol Liluashvili, has filed a lawsuit against Mtavari Arkhi and Formula TV channels after the media outlets aired reports alleging links between him and the criminal case dating back to October and relating to fraudulent operations set up by a group of Georgian and Israeli citizens in Georgia.
Liluashvili's lawyer, Mamuka Gviniashvili, said the lawsuit was a response to the reports aired by the channels several months ago about the criminal enterprise known as the ‘call centres’ case, where seven individuals were arrested after fraudulently laundering sums of over 10 million Euros from citizens of European countries.
A statement by the state agency on Friday rejected allegations in the reports linking Liluashvili with the case and said they were parts of a “campaign built on lies” and designed to “discredit the [service] and its head”.
Beside the two opposition-minded TV channels, Liluashvili’s lawsuit has also been filed against Levan Khabeishvili, a member of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party in the country.
The criminal endeavour was exposed in cooperation between Georgian and German law enforcement, and revealed by the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia in October. Citizens of Germany were shown to have been extorted through the use of fraudulent “services” of the “call centres” set up by the criminal group.
In its statement countering the allegations of government’s soft attitude to the case, the State Security Service explained it was not directly investigating the crimes due to articles in the Criminal Code of Georgia that placing the type of criminal enterprises outside the service’s mandate.
The statement from the service said the public was "aware that the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia, the Investigation Service of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia effectively investigate cases of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion, for which several dozen people have been prosecuted".