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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 23
Kaladze releases a statement about controversy around his business

Candidate for the minister of energy and natural resources, Kakha Kaladze, published a special statement regarding the scandal hovering around his company in the energy sphere and his official authorities. Kaladze was to make this statement after it was reported that his private company Kala Capital has 45% of shares in an energy company, which causes a massive conflict of interest according to Georgian legislation. "45% of shares of the Sakhidromshen Company belong to the Kala Company, which is in my possession. Sakhidromshen carries out projects connected with the energy sector along with other projects. Therefore, according to the Law on Incompatibility of Interests in Public Service and Corruption, within ten days since of assuming office, Kala Capital will begin the procedure of selling off the company's shares in Sakhidromshen. As for my other business activities, which are not tied into the energy sector, I will make the appropriate decisions in accordance with the law. I would also underline that my activities were always based and will always be based on the respect of the rule of law," Kaladze said in the statement.
(Rustavi 2)

Director General of Georgian Railways resigns

The Director General of Georgian Railways has resigned. The supervisory board has satisfied the resignation of Irakli Ezugbaia. The former director General`s statement has been published on the official website of Georgian Railways.

Ezugbaia thanks the management and every employ at Georgian Railways for their devoted and successful work over the past seven years. In addition, Ezugbaia took responsibility for every decision made during this time.

"I call on every employee to fulfill their duties quietly and with attention, so that the company`s operational management and security is not affected until the appointment of a new director general," Ezugbaia said.
(Rustavi 2)

Free Georgia party to have its representative from GR to Trade Unions

Members of the Free Georgia party accuse the management of Georgian Railways of corruption. They assembled outside the GR department yesterday asserting that senior authorities of the LLC Georgian Railways have been misappropriating large amounts of money from the company`s funds. It has been also reported that the Free Georgia Party will have its representatives from the railway staff to Georgia`s Trade Union. Gia Kruashvili pledges to protect the rights of the railway staff and discuss the issues of the five thousand employees of Georgian Railways, promising to get their jobs back.
(Rustavi 2)

NDI will still continue to carry out social surveys - Luis Navaro

The National Democratic Institute Georgia Office Director, Luis Navarro, says that people who had not decided who to vote for shortly before elections, made their choices after the prison scandal broke. "The last part of our research was carried out from July 21 through August 12. A majority of voters refrained from answering questions. "We have observed the peaceful transition of power from one party to another. For the first time in Georgia, representatives of various political positions came to power," Navarro said. According to him, NDI will still continue to carry out social surveys, though he did not elaborate the date of the new survey.

Givi Targamadze accused of funding clashes in Moscow

Russia's top investigative agency announced Monday that a government opponent has turned himself in and confessed to orchestrating riots, but the man and his supporters said he was kidnapped abroad, smuggled back to Russia and then tortured into confessing, Fox news says.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement that Leonid Razvozzhayev admitted to plotting with leftist leaders Sergei Udaltsov and Konstantin Lebedev, and taking funding from a Georgian lawmaker. Razvozzhayev, an aide to opposition lawmaker Ilya Ponomarev, was in hiding in Ukraine when investigators came to search the homes of Udaltsov and Lebedev last week. The activist's supporters reported over the weekend that he had been kidnapped in Ukraine by Russian security officers outside a U.N. office where he was going to apply for political asylum.

A video published on the website showed Razvozzhayev being taken away from a courthouse Sunday evening after the court sanctioned his arrest. Razvozzhayev shouted to reporters: "Tell everyone that they tortured me for two days... They smuggled me in from Ukraine." The Investigative Committee denied his claims, insisting that Razvozzhayev himself penned a 10-page confession. The criminal case against the three activists is based on alleged hidden camera footage aired earlier this month by a Kremlin-friendly TV channel. The documentary claimed that they met with Georgian officials to raise money to overthrow Putin's government. The quality of the footage is poor, but investigators insist that it was not doctored.

Investigators said Monday that Razvozzhayev also talked about his involvement in "organizing" clashes between police and protesters in Moscow this past May, and said this was funded by Georgian lawmaker Givi Targamadze. Targamadze has denied any links to funding the Russian opposition.

An opposition rally on May 6 in Moscow turned violent after police restricted access to the square where the rally was to be held. Bottles and pieces of asphalt were hurled at riot police who struck back by beating protesters with truncheons. The clashes did not appear to have been orchestrated.