Georgia's rebel TV station loses property
A court in Georgia has ordered the seizure of assets belonging to the Imedi TV company. Tbilisi’s City Court made the ruling on Friday, overturning a previous decision releasing the station's property. The TV channel is partly owned by the businessman Bad
“On January 22, the Prosecutor General's office applied to the court, requesting that Badri Patarkatsishvili's property, including Imedi TV be frozen. The court satisfied the request,” said Dmitry Tikaradze, Tbilisi’s City Court press officer.
Patarkatsishvili, who is said to be the word's richest Georgian, is wanted for plotting acts of terrorism and attempting to overthrow the government.
The London-based tycoon was charged in absentia after recordings were released where the businessman talks of plans to stage unrest, and offers $US 100 million to secure the help of a senior interior ministry employee.
The frozen assets include troubled TV station Imedi. Imedi was raided and closed by the authorities following a day of clashes between police and demonstrators on November 7.
Though the channel re-opened in December, many top journalists and other staff left the channel following news of the alleged coup plot.
Staff at the channel say they will start working again, if Patarkatsishvili sells his share to multinational News Corporation, which currently manages the channel. However, the court's decision to freeze the shares makes any transfer of ownership impossible.
Despite the court's decision, the headquarters of Imedi are still open, and staff are still working in preparation for resuming broadcasts.
As for Patarkatsishvili, the Georgian authorities say that if he comes back to Georgia, he will face trial.