Badri Patarkatsishvili, a business tycoon, said his suspension as president of the Georgian National Olympic Committee (GNOC) was illegal and he planned to continue exercising his duties as the GNOC president.
The GNOC overwhelmingly voted to impeach Patarkatsishvili on October 9, a day after ruling party officials accused him of “plotting intrigues” against the state “with the hands of” Irakli Okruashvili, the ex-defense minister.
Patarkatsishvili said in an interview with the BBC Russian Service that the GNOC Executive Council's decision “was expected.”
“Presidents of various sports federations [members of the GNOC executive council] were urgently summoned late at night [on October 8] to the [Tbilisi] municipality’s Department for Sport and Culture and asked to immediately convene an emergency session of the Executive Council of the Georgian National Olympic Committee (GNOC),” Patarkatsishvili said.
“All the procedures were violated… So I refuse to relinquish my duties as the president of the GNOC; I will continue to fulfil the duties of the president of the GNOC, until all the procedural issues are resolved.”
He also said that attacks against him started after Irakli Okruashvili’s taped video testimony was released in which the latter retracted his accusations against President Saakashvili of plotting to murder Patarkatsishvili and said that his accusation were aimed at “gaining political dividends” for both him and Patarkatsishvili.
Patarkatsishvili said video footage showing Okruashvili’s testimony was “depressing.” “I think it is immoral to release footage of this kind from jail.”
He reiterated that he had “normal, friendly relations” with Okruashvili. “I would not say that we were close friends, but we used to meet each other every few months, even after he had quit the government.”
“I was informed that he was planning to set up a political party. He shared this information with me. I also knew that it would be an opposition party and not pro-government,” Patarkatsishvili said.
He also said that he was not worried about being possibly extradited to the Russian Federation, where he is wanted on fraud charges.
“I am not afraid of extradition because there is a constitution [in Georgia] which can not be violated; on the other hand, the allegations against me are politically motivated,” Patarkatsishvili said.
As for his future, he said: “I think that a normal democratic state will be built in Georgia and I think Georgia will soon find a way of achieving its territorial integrity. I will continue doing what I have been doing: fostering processes directed towards turning Georgia into this type [of country].”