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Imedi TV ‘New Owner’ Denies Talks with Government
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Mar.'08 / 17:27

A person, who claims to be the new owner of Imedi TV has denied that the authorities were negotiating with him on a possible take over bid.

Joseph Kay, alias Joseph Kakalashvili, told Rustavi 2 TV in a brief phone interview on March 21 that he was Imedi TV’s new owner.

Inna Gudavadze, the widow of Badri Patarkatsishvili, said on March 19 that the Georgian government was trying to take over Imedi TV station with the help of “imposters.”

The Georgian newspapers Alia and Rezonansi reported on March 18 that Imedi TV shares had been formally registered under the name of Patarkatsishvili’s friend, Gogi Jaoshvili. The latter, however, according to the reports, transferred his 70% shares to Kay, who, according to the Alia, is a stepson of Patarkatsishvili’s aunt. The newspapers claimed that the Georgian authorities were negotiating with Kay.

In the interview with Rustavi 2 TV Kay said this was “utter nonsense.”

“They [the authorities] have not talked about it with me. If they want something like this they should first talk with me, as I am the owner [of Imedi TV],” he said.

Irakli Okruashvili, the ex-defense minister, told the late-night political talks show, Primetime, aired by Rustavi 2 TV, on March 20 that Imedi TV had been seized by the authorities through “a clandestine deal” and was now controlled by Kay, who had close links with the Saakashvili administration. Okruashvili said that Kote Kemularia, the ex-secretary of the National Security Council had introduced Kay to some of the key figures in the government when he held the position of defense minister a couple of years ago.

The opposition has called for a protest rally on March 24 against, what it calls, the authorities’ attempts to seize Imedi TV.

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