Georgy Mkhchyan, an Armenian member of the Georgian Dream opposition political alliance, responds to Hetq questions.
Mkhchyan was arrested on June 24 of this year on charges of real estate fraud. Investigators from the Georgian Ministry of Finance had accused Mkhchyan of falsifying documents regarding the purchase of a building that was turned into the regional office of the alliance in Akhalkalak.
He has been released on his own recognizance. His trial continues on October 25.
What is your connection to the privatization of the cultural center onQueen Tamar Streetin Akhalkalak?
I have no connection to that transaction. I purchased the building in 2005 and processed all the paperwork. I handed the paperwork to someone else to review. I’ve had no problems since. I rented the building to another person from 2008 to 2009. There is no problem with the building. Everything was legally processed.
The charges dealt with what documents specifically?
There is no specific document and the prosecution has no such document.
So on what basis did they arrest you?
In May I rented the first floor of the building to Georgian Dream. That’s when the problems began – telephone calls from the police. They wanted to know why I had rented the space to Georgian Dream and threatened to detain me. And that’s what they did, they arrested me.
Who specifically called and threatened you?
Police investigator Bourdjanadze called me. He said that the police chief wanted to talk to me and told me to visit the office. The police chief didn’t talk to me but I could hear his voice in the background. But he had made it known to my friends that I should cancel the rental agreement or else I’d be arrested. They were just looking for an excuse.
Was there any kind of pressure direct6ed against you during your arrest?
Sure there was, but because I was a political prisoner they were afraid to resort to more forceful measures. When I was first arrested, an examiner from the Ministry of Finance plopped down a huge stack of files in front of me and ordered me to sign them. They were all in Georgian, so I didn’t understand a thing. I replied that I wouldn’t sign anything unless my lawyer was present. The official said it didn’t matter if my lawyer came or not; I would be sent to jail. When I asked him why, he answered that I knew perfectly well and that it was because I had rented the space to Georgian Dream. I never signed those documents. By the time my lawyer arrived, the papers were gone.
What are you planning to do now after being released?
I will continue my collaboration with Georgian Dream.
Is it possible that the alliance will give you a post in Akhalkalak?
I don’t want one.
Photo: Haravain Darpas