The man claiming to be the new owner of Imedi TV said the television station “should restore the face it had before Badri Patarkatsishvili went into politics.”
Joseph Kay, alias Joseph Kakalashvili, a stepson of Patarkatsishvili’s aunt, told Rustavi 2 TV on March 22 that he had bought Imedi TV from Gogi Jaoshvili “simply by paying money.” He denied allegations that the authorities were in fact behind the deal. He also claimed that Patarkatsishvili had asked him before his death “to take care of Imedi.”
Gogi Jaoshvili, reportedly a close friend of Patarkatsishvili, owned 70% of JMG, a company with a 65% stake in I-Media, which is the founder and 100% owner of Imedi TV. According to papers submitted to the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) by Imedi TV in December, the remaining 35% of the I-Media shares are owned by Universal, a firm founded by three relatives of Patarkatsishvili.
Inna Gudavadze, the widow of Patarkatsishvili, said on March 19 that the Georgian government was trying to take over Imedi TV station with the help of “imposters.”
The opposition has called for a protest rally on March 24 against, what it calls, the authorities’ attempts to seize Imedi TV.
Meanwhile, Joseph Kay met with two top executives of Imedi TV, Bidzina Baratashvili and Luis Robertson in Tbilisi. Baratashvili, executive director of the television station, told reporters after the meeting: “We have not seen any documents yet and this was not the right place to discuss this kind of issue. Maybe next week we will have a more in-depth conversation on the issue.”