UNM opposition party said after an audio recording of conversation purportedly between Georgia’s ex-president and now governor of Odessa region in Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili, and some of the UNM leading members was leaked onto the internet on Tuesday, that it “strongly denies planning destabilization, plotting or having any scenario for revolution.”
The State Security Service said few hours after the recording was leaked that it opened investigation under the clause of criminal code involving “conspiracy to overthrow” the government.
In the audio recording, which was uploaded on YouTube, a man, whose voice resembles the one of Saakashvili complains before his interlocutors that although one of the UNM leaders Giga Bokeria on the one hand reluctantly shares his view about the need to pursue “revolutionary scenario”, on the other hand he also speaks about the need to get ready for a coalition government.
“Who wants to get ready for a coalition, let them prepare for it. I have no desire whatsoever to get ready for a coalition. That’s not what I am fighting for,” says purportedly Saakashvili in the recording.
His interlocutors in the recording purportedly include MP Akaki Minashvili, MP Akaka Bobokhidze, MP Gigi Tsereteli, MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, MP Nugzar Tsiklauri, who speak about the need of holding elections in a “revolutionary situation”, post-election protests, and keeping permanently 200 protesters in tents on the Rustaveli avenue for 2-3 months.
Reacting to the recording, Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page: “Does Ivanishvili want to avoid unavoidable defeat with such an inaptly doctored [recording]? He will fail to fool our people.”
UNM MP Petre Tsiskarishvili said that it was a compilation of doctored recordings of various conversations obtained by the State Security Service through illegal surveillance over the past three-four years.
“I do not confirm authenticity of the content of this conversation... The party is not preparing for revolution. But if needed we will defend our votes,” UNM MP Bobokhidze said and also added that the group of lawmakers, purportedly featuring in the recording, had no meeting with Saakashvili this year and he had no phone conversation either with Saakashvili this year.
The State Security Service said on September 27 that “in connection to secretly recorded audiotape, disseminated by media outlets, the counterintelligence department opened investigation under the part 1 of article 315 of the criminal code of Georgia, involving conspiracy to overthrow or to seize state power.”
“The origin and authenticity of the recording, disseminated by media sources, will be examined; all the necessary investigative activities will be carried out and persons, featuring in the recordings, will be questioned,” the State Security Service said.
A year ago the State Security Service launched “coup plot” investigation after a wiretapped recordings of Saakashvili were leaked amid ownership dispute over Rustavi 2 TV. Results of that investigation have not been reported since then.