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A businessman gunned down in Tbilisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 30
Businessman Besik Khardziani, who was actively campaigning against the current opposition United National Movement and several members of the party, was shot dead at his flat on March 29.

An unidentified individual on a motorbike shot him three times. The last shot to the head turned out to be fatal.

Khardziani’s wife, who was on the balcony at that time, witnessed the murder.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office, who is calling it pre-meditated murder, has set up a special group to investigate the crime.

Khardziani’s family claims it was an ordered hit and is pointing a finger at UNM member Giorgi Udesiani.

They stress that the murder is related to Khardziani’s business activities, more specifically, his Turtle Lake assets and shares.

“My brother has won the City Court trial and now the case is in the Court of Appeals. He was demanding his property back,” Khardziani’s sister said.

Udesiani rejects the accusations, and ascribes the family statements to the shock received by the lost of a loved one.

He emphasizes that it is illegal to blame somebody in such a serious crime without any evidence.

Khardzinai was detained in 2011, under the UNM government, for drug-related crimes.

However, Khardziani stated that his arrest was because of his refusal to hand his Turtle Lake shares to Udesiani.

Khardziani spent nearly two years in prison and stated he had experienced inhumane treatment there. He was released through the large-scaled amnesty carried out by the Georgian Dream government.

When released, Khardziani sued the former authorities and was struggling to regain his property.