'I'll demand an answer for insults' – Georgian oligarch's son admits wiretapped convo authentic
Rapper Bera Ivanishvili, the son of founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party and the country’s informal ruler Bidzina Ivanishvili, made his first comment since the publication of audio recordings in which allegedly he demands the punishment of minors for criticizing him and his family.
The recordings contain voices similar to those of Bera Ivanishvili himself, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and head of the State Security Service Anzor Chubinidze.
In the conversation, Bera Ivanishvili finds out how a schoolboy was punished who spoke badly about Bera on social media.
What Bera said
Bera Ivanishvili confirmed the authenticity of the recording in a comment to Imedi TV, in contrast to members of the ruling team and supporters of the Georgian Dream, who have been repeating for several days that these recordings are fabricated.
According to Bera Ivanishvili, the recording was made in 2011, when he was still a minor.
However, Bera said that he is ready to repeat the same thing today and will answer anyone who speaks badly about his mother:
“I won’t even argue whether these records are reliable or not. It doesn’t matter to me, because for me nothing has changed since then, I’m ready to say live that if someone insults my mother or speaks badly about my family, who is the most sacred and valuable to me, even today I will answer to all insults. Show me a Georgian who thinks differently, show me at least one man, one Georgian who has a different opinion,” Bera Ivanishvili said.
In his interview, Bera Ivanishvili stressed that all Georgian men would behave like him:
“We live in Georgia, where there has always been a cult of the mother, and respect for the mother is on a completely different level. I think that a person who does not recognize these values does not love his mother, he is just a pitiful person,” Bera said.
The billionaire’s son claims that the conversation took place in the summer of 2011, when he was 16 years old. That is, before the party headed by his father came to power.
Bera says that in the summer of 2011, he and his teenage fans were victims of bullying on Facebook – they were even threatened, so they were forced to seek help from Bera’s father.
“What worried me the most was the attacks on my fans, 10-11 year olds, from groups of 100-200 people … They said something so disgusting that I won’t even repeat it. … It was our duty to inform the security service about this. They visited these people and warned them in accordance with the law and morality … There were only verbal warnings,” Bera Ivanishvili said.
Bera Ivanishvili accused the opposition United National Movement Party and the former government of recording the tapes, then distributing them, and organizing campaigns of threats and provocations on social media.
Anzor Chubinidze also commented on the scandalous audio recordings. He said that the recordings were made in 2010-2011, when Bidzina Ivanishvili was not yet a politician. Chubinidze said that he did talk with the teenagers who threatened Bera on the Internet. According to Chubinidze, in those years he headed the security service of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s family and was responsible for the safety of his son.
What will the prosecution investigate?
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia launched an investigation into the “unauthorized recordings” of the conversation, as well as “facts of illegal use and dissemination of information” (Article 158 of the Criminal Code).
The prosecutor’s office tried to raise the issue of the responsibility of a TV channel or a particular journalist in terms of the fact that publishing such materials is “definitely not the best solution,” said Giorgi Mshvenieradze, a spokesman for the Georgian Democratic Initiative NGO.
According to Mshvenieradze, judging by the materials of the protocols, there are signs of a “possible crime”, but the prosecutor’s office did not investigate the case from this point of view.
According to Mshvenieradze, if the recordings were made before 2014, then today it will no longer be possible to punish for this, since the six-year limitation period has expired.
Part of the public believes that the interview with Bera Ivanishvili is a direct encouragement of violence and the criminal subculture.
Deputy Public Defender of Georgia Giorgi Burjanadze wrote a post on Facebook in which he recalls two high-profile cases when two teenagers were killed just because of a showdown and “protection of dignity.”
“The incident on Khorava Street (in Tbilisi in 2018), when one teenager insulted another, and then two were killed because the offended defended their dignity! The Shakarashvili case – when teenagers, because of a quarrel, also defending their dignity, killed a 19-year-old boy! Children and adolescents should be taught in such cases to contact the police or government agencies. Anyone who tells you, “Defend your honor,” is essentially an instigator to murder. Congratulations to all of you who survived today and survived in this country … Tomorrow you can meet with someone who is stronger and more influential than you and die … Praise to you, those who, through their political or public role, encourage this evil! “
As for the representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream party, if earlier in their comments they questioned the authenticity of these records, then after Bera’s interview they unanimously stated that Ivanishvili’s son acted “with dignity”:
“I think that what Beroy said is understandable to every Georgian and every man. If someone insults us or our family members, of course we react. Bera gave explanations on this and said that all this is not an invention, ”said Nodar Turdzeladze, a deputy from the Georgian Dream.
“I have lived for almost 18 years in one of the most developed countries in the world. You will not find anyone there who will insult you like that, ”said Mikhail Kavelashvili, a deputy from the ruling party.