Prosecutor’s Office Launched Criminal Prosecution against Five Individuals

2016-03-15 18:04:46

Out of high public interest, we would like to inform the society that the Prosecutor’s Office has launched criminal prosecution against five individuals for the infringement of private and family secret.

Investigation conducted on this case revealed that on December 26, 2015, Gela Ghurtskaia being at the office of MEDIAHOLDING KRONIKA+ LLC (address: 7 Gudauri Street) presented to Eliso Kiladze, Director of the same organization, an illegal video recording depicting private and family secret of other individual for the purpose of releasing it through media. On February 3, 2016, Gela Ghurtskaia was arrested based on the court ruling. In result of searching the latter’s apartment, the investigation discovered a memory card, which contained video recordings depicting private and family secrets of other individuals.

Prosecutor’s Office investigated the matter, established the origins of the video recordings of Gela Ghurtskaia and identified the persons involved in this crime, who participated in collection and dissemination of the mentioned video recordings. In particular, in December 2015, Nikoloz Khachapuridze, former officer of the Constitutional Security Department under the Ministry of Interior, contacted Gela Ghurtskaia and in exchange of monetary remuneration offered the latter to sell one of the covert recordings to Eliso Kiladze, Director of MEDIAHOLDING KRONIKA+ LLC. In his turn, Nikoloz Khachapuridze obtained the mentioned recordings from his friend Inga Chatoiani. The latter obtained the video recordings concerned from the lawyer Irakli Pkhaladze in summer 2015 for the purpose of selling them. Investigation also revealed that in 2014 the lawyer Irakli Pkhaladze received the mentioned recordings depicting private and family secret from Zurab Jamalashvili and decided to release them public in exchange of monetary remuneration. In result of searching the apartment of Irakli Pkhaladze on March 13, 2016, investigation seized personal computer of the defendant, whereby the mentioned and other video recordings were retained. Apparently, those videos were recorded until June 2012.

Investigation also established that Zurab Jamalashvili, who provided the lawyer Irakli Pkhaladze with the aforesaid video recordings, has a son – Vasil Jamalashvili, who from July 18, 2012 to October 15, 2012 served as the Deputy Head of the 4th Unit of the Operative-Technical Department under the Constitutional Security Department.

As of today, criminal prosecution has been launched against the following individuals: Gela Ghurtskaia, Nikoloz Khachapuridze, Inga Chatoiani, and Irakli Pkhaladze. Those individuals have been prosecuted for the commission of the crime punishable Article 157 §3 (a) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which entails the deprivation of liberty for a term up to 5 years as a punishment. On March 14, 2016, Zurab Jamalashvili was arrested in the capacity of the defendant for the commission of a crime punishable under Article 157 §1 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.

At the same time, Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia proceeds with the investigation, into the release of video materials depicting private and family secrets on March 11 and 14 of the current year, with the purpose of identifying and arresting the perpetrators. Special Investigation Team has been created at the Office of the Chief Prosecutor on this case in participation of the officials from the Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Interior and State Security Service of Georgia.

From the very beginning of the investigation necessary investigative actions were and are being continuously conducted. In particular, based on the motions filed of the Prosecutor’s Office the court rendered number of rulings based on which the requests on legal assistance were sent to the competent authorities of the USA. In order to establish the state from where the video material was uploaded in internet and to identify internet users linked to the crime, information on IP addresses were requested from the servers of YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK and GOOGLE. Legal assistance request sent by Georgian party also covers the identification of a person who created the FACEBOOK account in the name of the politician – the same account which was used to send the web links of the video recordings to journalist and other persons.
In the course of investigation, Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia addressed the administration of YOUTUBE concerning the preservation of information related to the video materials, so that the information concerning relevant IP addresses would not be deleted automatically after a certain period of time.
It is also worth mentioning that Prosecutor’s Office and law enforcement authorities immediately addressed the administration of the relevant web-page with the request to block and remove video material depicting private and family secret; the administration complied with the request.
Also, in order to identify person disseminating the video materials and to obtain additional information on this case, Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia searched 6 residential apartments in Tbilisi and requested CCTV recordings from 5 various places; obtained video-audio materials are being studied as of today. Complex examinations were appointed on the seized computer systems and 10 persons were questioned. Journalists, who received the information concerning the released recording on their personal Facebook profiles, were also interviewed. The aforementioned conversations (E-correspondence) were reviewed in participation of the witness.
Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia continues proactive complex investigation of the facts of infringement of private and family secret within three different criminal cases. Investigative and procedural actions are actively carried out for the purpose to conduct comprehensive investigation and reveal all individuals linked to this crime. In addition, within the framework of legal cooperation mechanisms, Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia also addressed competent authorities of foreign states with the requests to provide legal assistance.