Koba Kharshiladze, the former deputy head of the Old Tbilisi district and the head of the security service of the deceased Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, was detained in a courtroom on December 24. The decision was made by the Court of Appeals overruling the city court’s decision last week releasing Kharshiladze on GEL 400,000 bail. Despite the fact Kharshiladze is accused of the misspending of budgetary funds, his lawyers claim that the real reason of the detention is Zurab Zhvania’s case.
Chief of the bodyguard of deceased PM Zhvania detained
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, December 26
Kharshiladze and former head of the Old Tbilisi district, Lasha Purtskhvanidze, were detained on December 16, but the Tbilisi City Court released both of them on GEL 400,000 bail each. Both the defense and the prosecution appealed the verdict. The defense requested to reduce the amount of bail and the prosecution insisted on sending the two men to pre-trial detention.
According to the decision made by the Court of Appeals, the Prosecutor’s demand was satisfied only concerning Kharshiladze. The prosecution claimed that Kharshiladze booked an air ticket to flee the country. Kharshiladze denied the allegation, stating that it was a hoax by the prosecution to justify the motion for his pre-trial detention. As for Purtskhvanidze, he will have to pay GEL 400,000 in bail for a 10 day term.
Both of the former officials were charged last week with illegal entrepreneurship related to their company Greenservice, which was a contractor of the Tbilisi municipality providing the capital city with a range of planting services. The company and its deals with the municipality attracted public interest last spring when allegations about over-inflated contract costs emerged.
Kharshiladze is sure that his detention is related to the fact he was a chief of Zhvania’s bodyguards.
Kharshiladze’s lawyer, Beka Basilaia, claims that Kharshiladze had not booked any tickets.
“Even had he made a booking, how could law-enforcement get that information? At the same time, Kharshiladze and Purtskhvanidze have identical accusations and only Kharshiladze was sent to pre-trial detention. The situation causes questions that Kharshiladze is required concerning some other issue,” Basilia said.
Members of the parliamentary majority say the detention Kharshiladze is yet another part of doing justice. The parliamentary minority disagrees with the ruling party, saying the detention of Kharshiladze is politically motivated and aimed at destroying the strongest opposition party, the United National Movement.
“If there are questions concerning the misallocation of funds, the questions should be responded to…no matter if he is Kharshiladze or not, all who are accused should respond to the questions,” the coalition MP Viktor Dolidze said.
Fellow coalition MP Eka Beselia said that if the investigation has questions concerning Zhvania’s case, Kharshiladze should respond as well.
The UNM MP Akaki Minashvili is sure that Kharshiladze is detained regarding Zhvania’s case.
“The Government agrees with the Prosecutor’s office. The coalition is unable to say anything new about Zhvania’s case and tries to take some steps. The methods the new government uses are unacceptable and will cause the coalition’s collapse,” Minashvili said.