Georgian Public Defender’s Office (PDO) has called on the chief prosecutor’s office to launch an investigation into “the blackmail case carried out against a journalist” of Channel 9, TV station owned by Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili’s wife.
After journalist Nodar Chachua said on July 27 that three men, allegedly employees of the law enforcement agencies, tried to blackmail him, PDO’s representative met with journalist to receive a first-hand testimony.
“The Public Defender thinks, that information provided by Nodar Chachua in his testimony contains signs of crime envisaged by Georgia’s criminal code and therefore it is a competence of law enforcement agencies to probe into and react to these facts,” the statement reads.
The chief prosecutor’s office said late on July 30 that it had launched the investigation after receiving an appeal from the journalist asking for the probe.
Chachua says, that an unknown man approached him in downtown Tbilisi on July 23 and asked to follow him in his car, where two other unknown men were waiting; in a conversation, according to Chachua’s testimony given to PDO’s representative, the three men, who were in civilian clothing and armed, verbally insulted him and showed him video footage “showing his private life” and threatened they would make this video public in case of refusal to work for them.
In separate remarks to media sources, Chachua said that the men offered him to provide them information about daily developments in the Channel 9, as well as information of private nature about other employees of the TV station in exchange for money. Chachua also claimed that the three men also told him to have a sex with one of his male colleagues from Channel 9 and to try to record it secretly on video camera. Chachua said that he met the three men again on July 26 after they contacted him via mobile phone.
The journalist said that he was able to identify one of these three men in file footage of the Interior Ministry, where this man is seen in a capacity of a law enforcement officer, accompanying an arrested suspect. Chachua has also reported number plate of a car in which the conversation took place during a second meeting, as well as a mobile phone number from which he had been contacted to arrange the second meeting.