Former Minister of Defense, Davit Kezerashvili, released a statement on the allegations relating to the “call centers” case. Kezerashvili’s statement was shared by Formula TV.
“There is a difficult situation in Georgia today. Civil society is entering a decisive phase of the struggle against the Russian oligarchic regime. For Ivanishvili, the repeatedly expressed public unity in relation to the country’s western aspiration means that his 11-year effort to make Georgia an open platform for Putin’s Russia seems to be doomed. Russia’s regular defeat in the war with Ukraine is a sign of the oligarchic regime’s approaching the finish line.
“For the Government in Georgia and its actual ruler, all the institutions and people who are not under their strict vertical are a problem today. Financial resources independent of the Russian oligarchic regime, political parties, civil sector, media, young people are especially dangerous for the Georgian Dream leader. From the oligarch’s perspective, danger today is everywhere that he cannot control, that may contain the content of democracy and Western values.
“Given all this, I have no question why I have been Bidzina Ivanishvili’s personal target over the years. What is happening to me today – a baseless campaign, statements by political officials, clan court rulings, daily false accusations by government propaganda media – are a sign that I have been singled out as one of the big targets and that the Government wants to damage my business reputation at any cost, as well as interpret real goals with dirty methods”, reads the statement.
According to Kezerashvili, after he was forced to leave Georgia, he had to deal with many difficulties, but the last episode of the multi-year cascade of accusations, regarding call centers, turned out to be the most difficult.
“The difficulties determined by the unfortunate fact that an international media outlet with high professional standards, whose reputation cannot be ignored, became part of the campaign against me. Nevertheless, I have to say that in the investigative material prepared for various platforms of the British Public Broadcaster, there were a number of inaccuracies regarding me, which, in the overall picture, tried to strengthen the previously invented accusation.
“First, about the author of the investigative material: the journalist represents the Israeli media outlet – The Times of Israel (not the BBC) and he has been trying to damage my business reputation for years. An example of this is his publications published in the Israeli media. I don’t know what the author’s motivation is. I will only note that a lot of his materials strangely coincide with the false narratives of the Russian regime on many issues, including the issues of the defense system of the Georgian state, which has always been and continues to be particularly exciting for Russia.
“Now regarding the accusation expressed by the same author and my connection with the scheme of call centers, here I would like to focus on more details:
“It is false that I refused to cooperate with the journalist. There are approximately 50 pages of documents proving numerous communications between my lawyers and the authors’ group. I would like to point out that his materials do not include a single factual circumstance provided by me which refuted his assumptions about my connections with the call centers. As for the episode when the journalist comes to my apartment and I seem to refuse to talk to him, this “visit” happened around 7 am. He was met at home by my minor son, who, naturally, could not have answers to the issues of interest to him.
“It is a lie that I have something to do with the so-called Milton Group or related network activities. The author of the material himself concludes this more than once. However, despite his own conclusion, he not only upholds, but strengthens the assumption that I am the the head of the network”, reads the statement.
According to Kezerashvili, it is false to say that his business center in Kyiv is a “house of fraudulent call centers” that sells computer software.
“I declare with full responsibility that fraudulent companies have never worked in commercial buildings owned by me in Kyiv. Also, there has never been any type of investigation against the companies that rent commercial space in these buildings”, he said.
According to him, he will do his best to prove the falseness of the accusations made in the investigative film.
Kezerashvili also says in his statement that he made a decision regarding the Formula TV owned by him.
“The decision is as follows: I am refusing the control package of Formula and I am transferring half of the shares to the TV company staff. And after the end of the oligarchic rule, I will fully transfer my remaining shares to them. After the disappearance of the Ivanishvili factor, and the final entry into the Western space, I am sure that free media will have many other sources of livelihood even without my participation, and this is where my activity in the direction of media support and in general all types of involvement in Georgian politics will come to an end”, said Kezerashvili.
Related story: Ex-defense minister Kezerashvili responds to the BBC investigation