Businessman Beso Khardziani was shot several times at the entrance of a residential building, where he lived in the center of Tbilisi, on Saturday afternoon.
He died of “multiple” gunshot wounds, including in the head, few hours later in hospital, doctors said.
Khardziani was better known for broader public by his dispute over ownership of assets on Kus Tba (Turtle Lake) in Tbilisi; he was among those entrepreneurs, who claimed that their assets were illegally seized under the previous government. After the change of government in late 2012, Khardziani, who spent two years in prison for as he claimed trumped up drug-related charges to force him give up Kus Tba assets in favor of individuals with links to the previous government, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to reclaim assts. He won the case in court of first instance, but case is now in the Court of Appeals.
Earlier this month Khardziani appeared at a political talk show on Imedi TV together with some other businessmen, who also try to regain their assets, which they say, were illegally seized during the previous government. In the talk show, which was discussing current government’s handling of what it calls “restoration of justice”, Khardziani, whose some of the assets, which were under state control, were returned to him, warned that “if the justice is not restored”, there will be “fight” and Georgia will turn into “Sicily of 1970s”.
Reports say quoting witnesses that Khardziani was shot several times as he was returning to his home in Tbilisi’s Vake district by a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet; the assailant, according to these reports, fled the scene on a scooter. Police were seen examining an abandoned scooter and black helmet on a street not too far from the crime scene.
Prosecutor’s office said that a team of investigators was set up and “intensive” investigation was underway to solve the crime.