Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Georgian candidate says he offered police money not to use force against protesters

Georgian candidate says he offered police money not to use force against protesters

A billionaire businessman who is running against Georgia's president in next week's election has acknowledged offering a police official "a lot of money" not to use force to break up opposition protests.
The acknowledgment by Badri Patarkatsishvili, made in a televised address Tuesday evening, followed accusations from Georgian prosecutors that he was conspiring to overthrow the government of President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Prosecutors said Monday that Patarkatsishvili was planning mass demonstrations the day after the Jan. 5 presidential election and had offered Erekle Kodua, the head of a special police department, US$100 million (euro69.5 million) if police agreed to help oust the government.
Patarkatsishvili said he met with Kodua in London on Sunday in an effort to prevent a repeat of last month's violent crackdown on opposition protesters. Opposition leaders have said if they consider the election to be unfair they will call people back out onto the streets.
"I was prepared to pay Kodua a lot of money to prevent force from being used against that part of the population that might take peaceful action after the election," Patarkatsishvili said in his televised address. "I was prepared to pay as much as Kodua asked for." The billionaire gave no figure.
Saakashvili called for the election after sending in riot police to disperse protesters who were calling for his resignation in November.
Even though his popularity has suffered amid criticism that he has shown an authoritarian bent, he stands a good chance of winning re-election in the former Soviet republic, which he has sought to align with the West.
Patarkatsishvili is one of his main challengers, but the opposition is split among several candidates.
Patarkatsishvili had been under investigation after calling for Saakashvili's ouster during last month's protests, but prosecutors said last week that the criminal case had been dropped, and indicated that he could return to Georgia before the election without fear of arrest.


Updated : 2021-05-17 22:37 GMT+08:00