Azeri news agencies report that ex-chief of Georgian International Oil Company (GIOC) Gia Chanturia was appointed as an advisor for the Azeri State Oil Company. According to the reports Chanturia would coordinate on Georgia-related projects with the Azeri company.
Chanturia presided over GIOC since its inception in 1995 and was considered one of the closest allies of President Eduard Shevardnadze. He was in charge of negotiating and implementing the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines. Before the November 2003 Rose Revolution, it was rumored that Chanturia may succeed Shevardnadze after his retirement in 2005. Mikheil Saakashvili dismissed Chanturia on September 9, 2004.
Azeri internet portal Day.Az speculates that an arrest warrant on Chanturia was issued in Georgia, but Azeri President Ilham Aliev vouched for him with Saakashvili, who agreed on the condition that Chanturia leaves Georgia.