05TBILISI3194, COUNTERFEITING, ARRESTS, ABDUCTIONS IN SOUTH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05TBILISI3194 2005-12-07 11:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 003194 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/07/2015 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: COUNTERFEITING, ARRESTS, ABDUCTIONS IN SOUTH 
OSSETIA 
 
REF: A. CATIPON - KASANOF EMAIL 
 
     B. DECEMBER 6 
     C. 2005 
 
Classified By: Classified By: DCM Mark X. Perry, for reasons 
1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) Summary.  On December 5, the Georgian government 
orchestrated a sting operation against a counterfeiting 
operation in the breakaway region of South Ossetia, resulting 
in the wounding and arrest of an Ossetian law enforcement 
official allegedly involved in the illegal activity.  The 
operation, which was carried out by the Georgian Ministry of 
Defense inside the South Ossetian zone of conflict was met by 
reprisal arrests by South Ossetian officials of Georgian 
police and civilians, which themselves were met by further 
counter-reprisals against South Ossetians. Tensions have 
lessened following the release on December 7 of all those 
arrested by both sides, with the exception of the original 
South Ossetian individual accused of involvement in 
counterfeiting, who remains hospitalized in the Georgian city 
of Gori. An independent television crew appears to have been 
present during the December 5 sting operation. End Summary. 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
Georgian sting operation nabs alleged counterfeiter 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
2. (C)  On the night of December 5-6, Georgian Ministry of 
Defense Military Police performed a sting operation to arrest 
two South Ossetians believed to be involved in a large USD 
counterfeiting operation.  The incident took place near the 
village of Ergneti, within the zone of conflict. The 
Georgians shot and wounded (non-life threatening) Viacheslav 
Kudziev, Deputy Police Chief of the South Ossetian Village of 
Artseli.  According to press reports, Kudziev was carrying a 
large amount of counterfeit USD (Note: USSS Special Agent 
Jason Andrise, who is in Tbilisi to work on the 
counterfeiting case, confirmed the confiscation of $15,550 of 
fake notes. End note).  The other Ossetian escaped and 
Kudziev was taken to a hospital in Gori.  According to OSCE, 
Kudziev had participated in an OSCE-sponsored working group 
the week of November 30 in Gori, where the Georgian MoIA gave 
a verbal promise not to harass or target praticipants as a 
result of their participation in the working group. 
 
3. (C) According to news reports and OSCE contacts, the 
Georgian Military Police assaulted members of a Mzed 
television crew who were on the scene and had filmed the 
shoot-out between the Georgian and Ossetian sides. OSCE 
Security Officer Noah Lane said the TV crew was there filming 
a general report on South Ossetia when the incident happened. 
 Local witnesses told OSCE military observers that the MPs 
had "roughed up" the crew and confiscated their camera. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
Reciprocal abductions between Georgia, South Ossetia 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
4. (U) On December 6, Georgian press reported that South 
Ossetian officials detained approximately twenty ethnic 
Georgians, including four policemen.  Georgian Minister of 
Interior Vano Merabishvili issued a statement calling on the 
South Ossetian authorities to release the "hostages".  Also 
on December 6, OSCE observers in Tskhinvali reported that at 
approximately 4:30 p.m. local time Georgian officials 
arrested or detained four Ossetian officials.  Merabishvili 
later denied Georgian involvement in the incident, saying 
that the Georgians were "ready to help Tskhinvali colleagues 
to collect information about the missing people." 
 
5. (C) On December 7, the DCM spoke with George Volski, 
Deputy Minister of Conflict Resolution, who said that all 
detainees on both the Georgian and South Ossetian side have 
been released.  Viacheslav Kudziev is still being held, under 
MoIA custody.  Volski said that his office has no answer as 
to why MoD rather than MoIA was involved in the sting 
operation. 
 
 
TEFFT

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