A covertly recorded audio-tape suggests business tycoon and presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili’s assassination attempt had been plotted, the Sunday Times reported on December 23.
The newspaper, which is owned by News Corporation – Patarkatsishvili’s partner in his Imedi media holding – said that the tape (posted on the Times Online website), recorded last June, contained a conversation between alleged Chechen hitman and an official from the Georgian interior ministry.
“I know about this tape and I was told it was very serious. I have 120 bodyguards but I know that’s not enough. I don’t feel safe anywhere and that is why I’m particularly not going to Georgia,” the Sunday Times quoted Patarkatsishvili. “I was told that about six or eight weeks ago four people from Georgia came to London and stayed with [a Georgian individual] in London. I was told these people had been sent to do something against me.”
The newspaper said that the intended hitman was Chechen warlord Uvais Akhmadov, who instead of going along with the plan, tipped off the tycoon’s allies about the tape.
The allegation followed few days later after Patarkatsishvili’s campaign headquarters in Tbilisi disseminated a video tape, wherein a retired Georgian colonel was alleging that he was forced to give false evidence against Patarkatsishvili to the Georgian prosecutors, who were fabricated case against him.
Patarkatsishvili, who spends most of his time between London and Israel, refuses to arrive back to Georgia citing absence of security guarantees.
The Georgian authorities strongly deny allegations and say that Patarkatsishvili deliberately stirs “media hype” to, on the one hand discredit Georgia and on the other hand, to justify his unwillingness to return to Georgia.