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Former MP Does Not Plead Guilty

26.10.2010

Gela Mtivlishvili

Chief prosecutor’s office finished investigation on the case of the former MP Nikoloz Kvezereli. The case was sent to the Tbilisi City Court for further discussion. Kvezereli is accused in extortion of money and car from the Korean investor and resistance to police officers. The former MP was sentenced to pretrial detention.

The officers of the prosecutor’s office and the Constitutional Security Department of the MIA detained Kvezereli on August 6. The investigation blames him in the extortion of money and car from Korean investor Chel Ho Pat in 2009. According to the investigation, Kvezereli extorted initially 10 000 USD; then 250 000 USD and finally car “Infinite” worth 40 000 USD from the Korean businessman. Kvezereli extorted 10 000 USD for canceling the auction on the plot which the Korean investor owned in Tbilisi and 250 000 USD in exchange of the permission on construction. According to the investigation, during detention Kvezereli resisted the police officers.

The Tbilisi City Court imposed pretrial detention on Kvezereli as a preventive measure. “The victim and witnesses blame Kvezereli in the crime; the investigation has got hold of the evidence as well. When imposing the preventive measure on Kvezereli, the court took into consideration the grave crime he was accused for. He tried to influence the police officers and resisted them; it exposed his opinion about the accusation and the court doubts that he might hide from the investigation and the judiciary. It is noteworthy that Kvezereli deceived and misused the trust of the victim for many years; there is a grounded supposition that he will influence the participants of the court hearing,” statement of the Tbilisi City Court which was spread by the press-center after Kvezereli was imprisoned.

Several days after Kvezereli’s detention, the officers of the chief prosecutor’s office and the Constitutional Security Department detained one more active member of the criminal group of Nikoloz Kvezereli and head of the union “Barnov – 2” Nana Esakia.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the preliminary investigation estimated that Esakia through false financial operations misappropriated the property of 1 million USD which belonged to Korean investor; later, in order to camouflage the crime, she legalized the property –she purchased the land and buildings under the names of other people.

Nana Esaklia is blamed in swindling and legalization of illegal revenues (money laundering), the crime is envisaged under Article 180 and 194 of the Criminal Code of Georgia and is punished by 12-year-long imprisonment.

Esakia was also sentenced to two-month pretrial detention which was due to October 20.

According to our information, Nikoloz Kvezereli does not plead guilty. His family members do not make comments on it. Attorney Kakha Khvistani stated that he protected Kvezereli during the preliminary investigation and the former MP is innocent. Khvistani said that Korean businessman deceives Georgian law enforcement bodies. The court imposed the two-month pretrial detention on Kvezereli just to show off that they protect the rights of foreign investors in Georgia.

“Before imposing the preventive measure, the investigation did not even ask the question whether Kvezereli pleaded guilty or not. The prosecutor’s office did not mention this fact at all. Kvezereli’s partner has serious financial problems in his native country. He deceives Georgian law enforcement bodies. The money which was withdrawn from Kvezereli’s pocket was honorary of the attorney who assisted him at the court,” said Khvistani.

Nika Kvezereli was previously detained on April 9, 2009 during protest demonstrations. However, he was released several days later. He was accused in hooliganism and usage of fire-gun.

Kvezereli was the commander of the subunit of the security ministry “Omega”. He was accused in the terrorist attack on the former president Eduard Shevardnadze on August 29, 1995 and was convicted together with several members of the armed formation “Mkhedrioni”. However, after the court discharged him from the accusation about terrorist act and sent him to prison only for seven years for kidnapping a citizen and injuring him. Kvezereli was pardoned and left prison earlier; afterwards he participated in the parliamentary elections in Gurjaani district and was MP of two convocations. 
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