TBILISI. Feb 24 (Interfax) - The family of late Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili said it is time all persons involved in the "criminal expropriation" of the Imedi television company got the punishment they deserve.
"The wrong the previous government did to Imedi must be exposed and all those involved in this must get the punishment they deserve," the Imedi founder's mother Natela Patarkatsishvili said in an interview published by the Kviris Palitra newspaper (Weekly Palette) on Sunday.
Reports said earlier that the Georgian Finance Ministry's investigators brought criminal charges on Saturday against Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and blamed him for being directly involved in a fraud that led to change of Imedi's owner.
"It has yet to be established what role Saakashvili, ex-economics minister Arbeladze, the Georgia Media Production Group and Ugulava played in this case," Natela Patarkatsishvili said in commenting on the official confession made by the then Imedi owner Joseph Kay, who named these and other people, including the wanted ex-defense minister David Kezerashvili.
Kay, her sister's son, who once misappropriated Badri's assets, has made the confession for the only purpose of making peace with the family, she said. "This monster, in collusion with the government, wanted to destroy us. He betrayed Badri and struck a deal with the government, driven by the desire to gain control of my son's assets," Patarkatsishvili said.
"So much injustice has got accumulated in Georgia over the past few years!" she said. "The more clarity the new government gives to what was going on, the faster they clear up the crimes and punish the criminals, the better," she added.
Reports said earlier that U.S. citizen, businessman Joseph Kay returned a 10% stake in Georgian Media Production Group, including Imedi, to the Patarkatsishvili family in November 2012, following court litigation, which made Badri Patarkatsishvili's widow Inna Gudavadze the sole owner of the television channel.
Imedi was set up by Patarkatsishvili in 2003 and it was once the leading opposition television channel. After he joined politics he handed Imedi assets over in management to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Following a protest rally in Tbilisi in November 2007, riot policemen broke into Imedi and cut the broadcasts short.
Patarkatsishvili died of a heart attack in London in February 2008. Imedi was expected to pass over to the widow, but Badri's brother Kay claimed control over the TV company and Imedi found itself under Georgia Media Production Group's control following a series of deals.
(Our editorial staff can be reached at email@example.com)
Ukraine sees as successful talks on gaining observer status in Customs Union - foreign minister