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Authorities Rule Out Probe into Fake TV Report-Related Phone Recordings
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Mar.'10 / 18:45

The authorities have ignored calls for probe into recorded phone conversations, which surfaced in connection with Imedi TV's fake report, saying that there was no doubt that recordings were "fabricated" by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and there was no need to make further focus on the issue in internal political discourse as it was exactly what Russia wanted. 

One of the recordings involves a brief discussion allegedly between Culture Minister Nika Rurua and President Saakashvili about the fake TV report.
 
"I will not comment on fabrications made by FSB [Russia's Federal Security Service] and on such foolishness," Rurua said on March 19 after he was asked to comment on the recordings.

This recording, in which the man with voice resembling the one of Saakashvili says it was a mistake of Imedi TV not to make a disclaimer caption on the screen, was posted on a mysterious Russian-language website a day after a separate recording of phone conversation between Imedi TV's head and his deputy surfaced on the same website. This latter conversation indicated that President Saakashvili could have been behind the TV hoax.

Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, called for setting up of an ad hoc investigative parliamentary commission into the matter and opposition Alliance for Georgia, called on the authorities to carry out an expertise of the recording with the participation of foreign experts.

"There should be no expertise of these phone recordings for one simple reason: a trace of Russian special services is obvious," Pavle Kublashvili, a ruling party lawmaker, who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs, told Civil.Ge on March 18.

Asked if he thought that questions on the matter would linger unless no documented confirmation was produced, MP Kublashvili responded: “It [Russian involvement] is absolutely clear for the society and I hope that you also have no question marks about it.”

"It is just in Russia’s interests if we now start discussing it and we are not going to do that,” he said.

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