07TBILISI3152, PATARKATSISVILI COUP PLOT UNCOVERED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI3152 2007-12-24 10:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8944
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #3152 3581020
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZZK
O 241020Z DEC 07 ZFF4
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 8506
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 003152 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR A/S FRIED, DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/24/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: PATARKATSISVILI COUP PLOT UNCOVERED 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (SBU) On December 24, the Prime Minister called in the 
U.S., UK, French, German and Baltic Ambassadors to provide a 
briefing on a plot to undermine Georgia's presidential 
election on January 5 and thereby to overthrow the Georgian 
government.  The Prime Minister showed videos of 
Patarkatsisvili,s campaign manager (and Parliamentarian) 
Valery Gelbakhiani offering a bribe to a senior police 
official, Irakli Kodua, in exchange for taking part in 
conspiracy to thwart the elections and trigger mass unrest in 
Georgia.  Specifically, Kodua was to capture and if necessary 
kill Minister of Interior Vano Merabishvili as part of the 
plot.  At Patarkatsisvili,s request, Kodua subsequently met 
Patarkatsisvili in London on December 23.  Kodua wore a body 
microphone which picked up incriminating statements made by 
Patarkatsisvili during the meeting, including requesting that 
the coup begin on January 3 or 4 with the capture or killing 
of Merabishvili.  Kodua returned to Tbilisi early on December 
24.  The tape of his meeting is being processed and will 
probably be made public on December 25.  Patarkatsishsvili 
apparently calculated that Kodua would join a plot because 
his mother and brother have both been caught in corruption 
probes; as a result of this corruption, his brother left 
Georgia and is now in London. 
 
---------- 
NEXT STEPS 
---------- 
 
2. (SBU) In his meeting with the Ambassadors, Prime Minister 
Gurgenidze previewed the Government,s planned next steps, 
including his briefing of the OSCE ODIHR Ambassador Boden, 
OSCE Ambassador Hakala, and representatives from the Council 
of Europe and the EU, the Acting President,s briefing of the 
opposition, and the Government,s public disclosure of the 
coup plot and release of the incriminating videos at noon. 
Later on December 24, there will be a Security Council 
meeting and Acting President Burjanadze will address the 
country.  Patarkatsisvili,s campaign manager, who we 
understand is currently in Yerevan, will be invited to the 
MOIA for questioning but will not be arrested.  (Note:  As an 
MP, he has immunity which can be lifted by Parliament.  End 
note.) 
 
---------------------------------- 
ACTING PRESIDENT BRIEFS OPPOSITION 
---------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) After briefing Western ambassadors, Acting President 
Burjanadze met with opposition leaders to brief them on 
evidence of the suspected Patarkatsishvili coup plot. 
Opposition representatives who showed up included Republican 
Party leader Usupashvili, Kukava of the Conservative Party, 
Tkemeladze of the Industrialists, and Gachitadze of the New 
Rights Party.  The Acting President also spoke on the phone 
with New Rights leader Gamkrelidze and opposition coalition 
candidate Gachecheladze.  As of 1500 local time there has 
been no public reaction by opposition leaders. 
 
-------------- 
PUBLIC RELEASE 
-------------- 
 
4. (U) At noon on December 24, the Government released the 
two videos recorded by Kodua.  They were carried on all 
Georgian national television stations, including Imedi, 
Patarkatsisvili,s station.  In a follow-up interview with 
Rustavi 2, Gelbakhiani admitted having met with Kodua but 
said that the tape was edited.  He claimed his goal was to 
have an ally in the MOIA should there be protests following 
the January 5 elections.  Gelbakhiani said he plans to 
convene a press conference on the issue. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5. (C) We believe the plot to disrupt the elections and 
overthrow the government was real.  Bred in arrogance or 
desperation, Patarkatsishvili appears to have gambled that he 
could manipulate the election process and bring about a 
change in government.  At this point there is no indication 
of demonstrations in Tbilisi.  The private reaction seems to 
be one of shock that Patarkatsishvili would go to this extent 
to achieve power. 
TEFFT

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