Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, has confirmed meeting with Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk, and said in an interview with the Georgian daily, Rezonansi, that she was invited in Kiev by Pinchuk with whose foundation she was cooperating “actively”.
Burjanadze's meeting with Pinchuk, who is ex-Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma’s son-in-law, was used by the authorities to step up allegations against some opposition leaders suggesting that they seek funds to finance protests from individuals allegedly having links with the Kremlin. Referring to the Berlin meeting and the meeting of Burjanadze with Pinchuk, President Saakashvili said on July 2: “In recent days I hear statements that some politicians go abroad and meet there with persons, who are directly engaged in carrying out Russia’s interest.”
“Mikheil Saakashvili himself regarded as an honor to be this person’s [Pinchuk] guest several months ago and if Saakashvili thinks there is something unacceptable in that person then why he rushed upon his [Pinchuk’s] invitation to attend Paul McCartney’s concert in Kiev?” Nino Burjanadze said in the newspaper interview published on July 3. “If this person is linked with criminal gangs, then why Saakashvili himself was guesting him? This is highly respected person enjoying with high authoritativeness not only in Kiev, but in the West as well. By the way he has very good relations with Hilary Clinton.”
The New York Times reported last year that day after the former Beatle’s concert in mid-June, sponsored by Pinchuk, the latter invited select guests to his Japanese garden. Along with Paul McCartney and others, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and President Saakashvili were also in attendance.
Burjanadze said that the authorities had “a fear” of her “serious international contacts.” “I know many important people and I will definitely use these contacts,” she added.