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Scandal: Did Georgia pay money to Swedish Foreign Minister?!

October 8, 2012

Natia Dolidze, "Kviris palitra"

Swedish media started investigating the cooperation between their foreign minister Carl Bildt and the Georgian government. Articles about this issue appeared after the world learned about the situation in Georgian prisons. A leading and authoritative newspaper in Sweden, Aftonbladet, published an article with the headline: “Carl Bildt Turned Georgia into His PR Company's Client.”

The article indicates that Carl Bildt’s unconditional support for the government of Georgia might not be unbiased at all.

The article shows that in 2004-2006 Mr. Bildt was managing director of the famous PR-Company Kreab. Not only huge companies and organizations are on the list of the Company’s clients but also famous billionaires of the world and governments of different countries. The article’s author writes: “One country which enjoyed their services was Georgia. The country is of particular interest to the USA because of oil transportation.” It is interesting that the Georgian government’s cooperation with this company is linked with Carl Bildt who had not stopped lobbying for Saakashvili’s government even after quitting the Company.

The article reads: “The contract with the company was signed in the fall of 2006 with Bildt’s support. The PR Company’s chief in Brussels Carl Isakson confirmed this fact.

-Is it true that Georgia was Bildt’s client?

-Yes, Carl had good contacts in Georgia when he was director in the company but when he became minister, he quit the Company.

According to Isakson, their PR Company was Georgia’s “additional hand in Brussels.” “We assisted the ruling party to establish close relations with European politicians and organizations. We also assisted them in cooperation with media in order to publish information about Georgia in the media in a positive manner.”

The newspaper wrote that Carl Bildt continued close relations with President Mikheil Saakashvili from the highest tribune of the EU being a minister and visited Georgia 11 times: meanwhile, there were events which raised questions with regard to Bildt’s extreme sympathy towards the government of Georgia.

The Presidential elections of 2008 were linked with huge political turmoil in Georgia and the Swedish ambassador Hans-Gunar Aden notified the Swedish government that there were grounds for doubt over the legitimacy  of the election results. However, Bildt simultaneously wrote: “The election results were not doubtful at all,” and “we all have reason to congratulate Georgia for anotherelection which has demonstrated support of democracy and economic reforms despite some shortcomings.”

Due to his doubts, the Swedish ambassador was called back from Georgia in 2009. Various sources report that the real reason for his withdrawal was Bildt’s discontent about his being too critical towards the existing regime in Georgia.

“It is interesting that new the ambassador of Sweden in Georgia was Bildt’s former assistant,” the article reads. The newspaper tried to get an answer to the question: “Does Bildt have a vested interest in supporting Saakashvili?” and at the end of the article we read: “Carl Bildt replied to us briefly by email: “I have never had business links in Georgia. I know there are people who actively spread this information but it is not true.”

We kindly remind you that the Swedish Foreign Minister visited Georgia about two weeks ago and that he assisted the President of Georgia to juice grapes on his estate; the newspaper also published a photo of this event. One more scandal is linked with him [Carl Bildt]: During his visit to Georgia he also met Bidzina Ivanishvili. According to information released, Minister Bildt warned the opposition parties about the uselessness of street demonstrations to protest against election results.