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Kodua makes statement on murder plot

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, August 5
Former chief of the Special Operative Department of the Ministry of Interior Affairs Erekle Kodua, who is in the wanted list of Interpol, and living in England currently, has stated that deceased businessman Bardi Patarkatsishvili ordered him to kill ex-Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Kodua also claims that Patarkatsishvili ordered him to kill several of his close allies, including opposition member Goga Khaindrava. Kodua claims that Patarkatsishvili wanted a coup in 2007.

Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is facing charges concerning two cases – the brutal dispersal of a peaceful rally on November 7, 2007 and the raid on Imedi TV and the illegal appropriation of Patarkatsishvili’s property.

Oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili was born in Georgia. However, he accumulated his wealth in Russia. He was the founder of I-Media Group and was the head of the Investors’ Group. He was also the founder of Georgia’s Olympic Group and chaired Georgia’s Olympic Committee and the Badri Patarkatsishvili Charity Foundation. It was rumored that he was financially backing the anti-Rose Revolution government rallies in 2007.

He was found dead in London in 2008. The official cause of death was a heart attack. However, his family contests this, stating he had no health related problems. Questions remain among the public about his death.

Kodua states that he met Patarkatsishvili in London in 2007 through Patarkatsishvili’s wish, where the businessman ordered to kill then Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Kodua claims that Patarkatsishvili also told him that he wanted four of his close allies to be killed and to place the blame on Saakashvili’s government. Kodua states that through killing of his own allies, including his friend and opposition member Goga Khaindrava, Patarkatsishvili wanted to cause more indignation among the public towards the Rose Revolution government and carry out coup.

Badri Ptarkatsishvili’s mother called the statements made by Kodua shocking. Khaindrava himself stated that Kodua is “sick” and his “tales” are delusional.

“The only ones who wanted my death were Saakashvili and Merabishvili,” Khaindrava said.

Patarkatsishvili’s friend Valeri Gelbakhiani stated that the meeting between Kodua and Patarkatsishvili was held through Kodua’s initiative and concerned a different issue. Gelbakhiani states that Patarkatsishvili had a recording where a Georgian police officer and a Chechen citizen were talking about Patarkatsishvili’s murder plan.

Commenting on the issue, Mikheil Saakashvili stated that Patarkatsishvili was a Russian spy and the Rose Revolution government was creating obstacles for him. The issue is being investigated by the prosecutor’s office, which supposedly has an audio recording reflecting the conversation between Kodua and Patarkatsishvili in London in 2007.