Tbilisi court of appeals of Wednesday upheld the verdict of Tbilisi city court against the head of the Mtavari Arkhi TV channel Nika Gvaramia, keeping him in custody for charges of abuse of power in 2015 and 2019, during his time at the helm of Rustavi 2 channel.
Gvaramia was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for each episode, but will serve a single term based on the principle of halving sentences.
The ruling follows a May verdict by Tbilisi city court, which sentenced the media figure for two separate episodes of the case, one of which had caused “serious losses” to Rustavi 2 through disadvantageous commercial deals and the other related to obtaining property through a corrupt deal.
The charges by the prosecutor’s office had alleged the former head of the channel had caused a loss of ₾6,763,509 ($2,239,572) to the channel in a deal struck with a media company in 2015, before also obtaining a luxury car estimated at €76700 from Porsche Centre Tbilisi in exchange for discounts on ads on the channel in 2019.
Tbilisi city court had handed down a prison sentence to Gvaramia for the 2019 episode, while issuing a fine of ₾50,000 ($16,000) on him over the 2015 events. In its new ruling, the appeals court has used imprisonment as judgement for both cases.
In its verdict, the court of appeals has also upheld previous rulings against Kakhaber Damenia, the former financial director of Rustavi 2, and Zurab Iashvili, the director of Inter Media Plus company involved in the dealings in the case.
Damenia had been found guilty of causing the financial loss to the TV company and fined ₾50,000, while Iashvili, sought for indictment for commercial bribery and forgery, had been acquitted by the court.