Nika Gvaramia recently announced that he intends to create a new TV channel " />

Rustavi 2 case continues – former director called in for questioning

Nika Gvaramia recently announced that he intends to create a new TV channel

On August 2, former general director of opposition-minded TV channel Rustavi-2 was questioned as a witness in the Tbilisi City Court, at the request of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia.

The prosecutor claims Gvaramia ‘misappropriated the funds of the broadcasting company’ during his tenure as director, allegedly because he knew that the channel would be given to Kibar Khalvashi – a former owner of the channel who is close to the current Georgian authorities.

After a European Court of Human Rights ruling effectively returned control of the company to Khalvashi, Gvaramia was dismissed as director.

The Rustavi 2 ownership dispute began in 2012 when the Georgian Dream came to power.

At the time, the authorities framed the issue as one of a “dispute between private individuals”, however few doubted that the real issue was that of the channel’s allegiance to former president Mikheil Saakashvili and the new government.

Gvaramia received a summons to appear in court several days after announcing his intention to create a new TV channel.

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Gvaramia says this is likely the reason he has been called into court, and that the charges that might be brought against him are groundless.

He also added that the new owners of Rustavi 2 plan to bankrupt the TV channel “because, otherwise, they cannot fire employees, hire new ones in their place and thus change the channel’s critical editorial policy.”

“They really want to bankrupt Rustavi 2 and for this they need to prove that I took the money somewhere. For Rustavi 2 to survive, we had to bring money in, not take it out. This is a fake case”, Gvaramia said.

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