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President Margvelashvili meets former owner of Rustavi 2

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, October 28
The former owner of the Rustavi 2 TV channel Kibar Khalvashi requested that the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili monitor the ongoing court proceedings, after an hour-long meeting at the presidential palace.

Khalvashi stated that the court process is under pressure from the United National Movement (UNM).

“I told him everything, including the legal details of the case. He promised me that he would help. I talked about the legal details as well, but he said that he was not a lawyer and could not form an opinion until he listened to the other side too,” stated Khalvashi.

Khalvashi spoke about dilates, how and when he gave the Rustavi 2 away. According to him, he sold TV channel for just 300, 000 GEL, while he purchased it for 7, 300, 000 GEL.

“I met with the ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on November 16, 2006. He set me an ultimatum that I had to give away Rustavi 2, or my family and I would face problems,” stated Khalvashi.

According to him, on the next day, Dimitri Kitoshvili (Saakashvili’s spokesperson) came to him and signed Rustavi 2 to his name.

“Even though they have not set off any bombs or anything of that kind, it put me under considerable pressure nonetheless,” stated Khalvashi.

The President’s Advisor for Human Rights, Kakha Kozhoridze, made a statement and said that the President’s Administration will not monitor the Rustavi 2 trial.

“Our representatives cannot attend the trial. It would be seen as an attempt to pressure the court. However, the case has high public interest and we are also following it,” stated Kozhoridze.

However, Kozhoridze said that Margvelashvili’s only promise to Khalvashi was to create a calm environment for the purpose of independent judicial decision-making.

“The President just could not promise him help in any other way. He has no such eligibility; however, if you compare the current situation to the one that was few days earlier, you will see that situation is calmer,” stated Kozhoridze.

The meeting between Khalvashi and Margvelshvili was initiated by Khalvshi.

The trial over the Rustavi 2 shares is ongoing. Khalvashi is demanding his shares back, while the Rustavi 2 current leadership and the opposition United National Movement are stating that the process is being influenced by the current state government, as they want to close the channel which has, at times, expressed critical opinions of the government.