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Ukrainian ‘wikileaks’ publishes two audio recordings of ex-President Saakashvili phone conversations

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, November 4
The Ukrainian website published two audio recordings of alleged phone calls of the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who currently serves as the governor of Ukraine’s important Odessa region.

According to the website, the first conversation is between Saakashvili and the popular Georgian singer Sophia Nizharadze, who discuss Saakashvili’s meeting with the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as well as the Rustavi 2 TV case. Saakashvili is heard to say that bloodshed is expected in Georgia soon.

Another recording is of an alleged conversation between Saakashvili and the General Director of Rustavi 2 TV, Nika Gvaramia. According to the audio, the two allegedly discuss a scenario of resistance against law enforcement in the event that the current Rustavi 2 owners lose the ongoing court battle. Saakashvili advises Gvaramia to tell journalists that they will be fired, and then mentions the name of Temur Janashia, the former head of Saakashvili’s personal guards, saying he will be in charge of Rustavi 2’s security.

Nizharadze, Gvaramia and Bokeria have been summoned to the State Security Service for questioning, in the so-called Moduli building; Saakashvili, though officially a wanted criminal in Georgia, remains in Ukraine.

“I would like to respond to some rather superficial comments regarding the ‘telephone conversations’ between me and my Georgian friends. These calls have been intercepted and doctored by a Russian intelligence agency and posted on the website known to be controlled by them,” Mikheil Saakashvili wrote in a Facebook post on November 2, saying he has always been against violence.

Rustavi 2’s Director General Nika Gvaramia does not confirm the authenticity of the published audio recordings.

“We had conversations on the topic, but the content of the released audio tape is different, I cannot see anything special in the fact that I asked Saakashvili advice about the defence of the TV company,” Gvaramia stated.

Sopho Nizharadze also commented on the recording. “I think it is total nonsense to comment on that fabrication, which was undoubtedly arranged by the Federal Security Service of Russia,” Nizharadze posted on her Facebook page, expressing her support for Rustavi 2.

The State Security Service of Georgia released a statement on November 2, saying it “keeps on probing into the important operative information available to the investigation. All relevant information published in the media is being checked, (and) all persons whom the investigation deems appropriate will be questioned.”

It should be noted that on October 24, the Agency started an investigation into alleged state coup attempt. The statement reads that the investigation has been opened based on operative information available to the Agency’s Counter-Intelligence Department and news spread by the media.

The investigation started after the Ukrainian published transcripts of an alleged conversation between Mikheil Saakashvili and former Security Secretary Giga Bokeria at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport on October 22. The transcript was titled as “Saakashvili is preparing a coup against Georgia".