23 January, 2014
Arms smuggling schemes deciphered

PM Irakli Gharibashvili has divulged important information about ex-Minister of Defense Davit Kezerashvili: “As for illegal arms trade, very interesting scandalous information and facts are coming out about Kezerashvili. Not only are our law-enforcement agencies interested but respective foreign agencies are also looking into this.” Former political prisoner Vakhtang Maisaia spoke about arms smuggling in the previous issue of this newspaper. Now Maisaia elaborates on schemes by which he thinks arms were smuggled abroad.
V.M. –
In the indictment brought against me (given to me by a representative of the Counter Intelligence Department when I was still in prison) it is specifically written: “The information sent by Maisaia contains reconnaissance, counter reconnaissance plans and reports of operational-technical activity; import to Georgia and export abroad of arms, ammunition, military equipment; financing of these operations.” A panel of judges of the appeals court discussed my case and made an extraordinary decision to destroy my personal laptop and USB flash drive, that is, “the classified” material evidence that is to be kept for at least 20 years. I have substantial doubt that all the stuff was copied, and some former high-ranking officials sold it to the present authorities. The Prosecutor’s Office seems to know some details of arms smuggling, and this increases my doubt.
Q. – Could you specify conclusions of your analysis and connection with the Kezerashvili’s case?
A. – One month prior to the 2008 war, arms manufactured in Belarus arrived to Georgia. It was 5 units of gtc-100 (It’s a power plant used for eavesdropping as well as for radio-electronic reconnaissance. It’s a specific type of armament). One could find an explanation if the Ministry of Defense bought Russian Kalashnikovs in Belorussia, but bringing in this type of Russian armament when the tension of Russian-Georgian relations reached its peak gives rise to serious doubt. Five units of gtc-100 were delivered by Bell Trading Consulting LTD based in an offshore zone on the Seychelles Islands. Now foreign partners of our country argue to Georgia’s former authorities that the above mentioned company could be connected with Davit Kezerashvili. Anyway, this type of armament couldn’t be delivered without Victor Sheiman.
Vano Merabishvili in person (more than once) met with Victor Sheiman in Belarus. The latter was Lukashenko’s right hand – as you already know he supervised the Belorussian KGB and was known as the Black Dealer of illegal arms. An American analytical center set up by former intelligence officers indicates directly that Sheiman, as well as Victor But, were involved in the illegal arms business, and he is a close friend of Igor Sechin, representative of the Russian top brass. Thus, for the US, the whole scheme - connection of Saakashvili’s authorities with Victor But and his accomplices (Sheiman, Sechin, Patrushev) - is already deciphered. The destination of flights made by But’s transportation companies were: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi, Burgas and Belgium. Other destinations were: Belarus, Ukraine, Burgas, and Africa as well as Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Lebanon. Thus, Georgia was also included in the But’s sphere of interest. He needed Georgia as the shortest corridor to Burgas in order to take goods from Afghanistan to the West and then to the USA. For this reason, But connected with the former authorities of Georgia.
It is to be noted that at that time the now-deceased Zurab Zhvania was against selling the Poti port and Tbilisi airport. I declare and emphasize this: Zhvania was assassinated in connection with the privatization of Poti port and Tbilisi airport because the former Prime Minister personally opposed Temur Alasania’s interests. Let’s not forget that it was the period when But’s company and the Russian arms market reached its zenith. Russia’s annual income (officially) from the arms business went from USD10 billion up to USD 15 billion. In parallel with this Russian officials controlled the illegal arms business as well.
Q. – That is, you don’t rule out involvement of the special service of some country in Zurab Zhvania’s assassination…
A. – I think from a certain point of view Zhvania crossed into the sphere of interest of a transnational criminal organization. As I’ve told you, the connection of the former authorities of Georgia with the black arms-dealers was described in my book that was destroyed. But I don’t exclude that Georgian authorities have already passed the information I’m speaking about now to French law enforcement. (Kezerashvili will appear before the French court on 23 January).
Q. – You’ve said that somebody from the former government had sold a copy. Who do you suspect?
A. – The clan of already-detained Bacho Akhalaia. I can’t specify namely who did it.

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