08TBILISI249, OPPOSITION OLIGARCH PATARKATSISHVILI DEAD OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI249 2008-02-13 09:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6724
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0249/01 0440948
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130948Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8871
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000249 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION OLIGARCH PATARKATSISHVILI DEAD OF 
APPARENT HEART ATTACK 
 
REF: A. 07 TBILISI 3161 
 
     B. 07 TBILISI 2415 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  On February 13 news broke in Georgia that 
Georgian oligarch and opposition figure Arkadi "Badri" 
Patarkatsishvili died in London.  He was 52 years of age. 
Patarkatsishvili's Tbilisi-based lawyer, Shalva 
Khachapuridze, confirmed the news.  The reported cause of 
death is a heart attack, although this remains unconfirmed. 
British Embassy Poloff confirmed to us that Patarkatsishvili 
had died and that UK police are investigating.  End summary. 
 
2. (U) On February 13 post heard reliable reports from a 
source close to the Patarkatsishvili family that Badri 
Patarkatsishvili had died in London of a heart attack.  Soon 
after, Georgian media reports announced that Georgian 
oligarch and opposition figure, Badri Patarkatsishvili died 
in London.  Patarkatsishvili was born in 1955, making him 52 
years of age.  Patarkatsishvili's Tbilisi-based lawyer, 
Shalva Khachapuridze, confirmed the news.  The apparent cause 
of death was a heart attack, although this remains 
unconfirmed.  Family members have thus far refrained from 
speaking publicly.  However, Patarkatsishvili's political 
party members, including Nona Gaprindashvili, said they were 
unaware of Patarkatsishvili suffering from any health 
problems. 
 
3. (U) The Georgian Public Broadcaster (Channel One TV) 
reported Patarkatsishvili's death and included some brief 
biographical information.  Private TV company Mze also 
announced the death.  Both reports were factual and 
respectful. 
 
4. (C) British Embassy Political Officer David Gale told 
Poloff on February 13 that the British Government has 
confirmed Patarkatsishvili's death.  Gale said the British 
Government considers Patarkatsishvili's death "a matter for 
the UK Surrey Police."  Gale said apparently the death 
happened last night (February 12) after dinner at 
Patarkatsishvili's mansion in Surrey, England.  There were 
many Georgians present at the dinner.  Gale confirmed that 
the UK police are investigating the death. 
 
5. (U) Patarkatsishvili recently founded a political party 
and ran for President in the January 5 election.  In that 
contest he garnered over seven percent of the popular vote, 
and finished third.  Patarkatsishvili was considered to be 
Georgia's wealthiest man, with a fortune largely earned 
working with Boris Berezovsky in Russia during the Yeltsin 
years.  In October of 2007, he became increasingly active 
politically and critical of the Saakashvili administration. 
He attended the public protests on November 2, 2007, and 
founded his political party shortly thereafter. 
Patarkatsishvili owned Imedi TV, which was seen as the only 
real alternative to the government's domination of other TV 
channels; although Imedi was also seen as quite biased 
against the government.  Imedi was forcibly shut down by the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) on November 7, and 
reopened in mid-December. 
 
6. (U) Patarkatsishvili was indicted and wanted by the 
Georgian Prosecutor General for conspiring to overthrow the 
government.  The January 10 charge stemmed from an interview 
between Patarkatsishvili and MOIA Special Operations 
Department Head Irakli Kodua.  Patarkatsishvili had met Kodua 
in London in December, and Kodua claimed Patarkatsishvili 
offered Kodua USD 100 million to help him "overthrow the 
government." (ref A)  Patarkatsishvili had also been wanted 
in Russia on criminal charges for several years. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7. (C) Opposition parties and government officials have not 
yet had time to comment on the death, but it is certain to 
spur many conspiracy theories in a country already rife with 
them.  Speculation could point in any number of directions, 
but the Georgian and Russian governments are certain to be 
suspected of complicity in the death.  There is a long 
history of such accusations.  Exiled (and wanted) former 
Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili specifically claimed in 
his September 25, 2007 address on TV that President 
Saakashvili had "ordered him to liquidate" certain people, 
including Patarkatsishvili (ref B).  Since going into exile, 
Okruashvili has suggested that Saakashvili would "be 
responsible" if anything happened to Okruashvili.  During the 
recent presidential campaign, some Georgian officials 
 
TBILISI 00000249  002 OF 002 
 
 
expressed concern that the Russians might liquidate an 
opposition figure to throw suspicion on the Georgian 
government.  Post is aware of at least two such alleged plots 
reportedly directed by Russia over the last several years. 
Consequently, all eyes will be on the results of a UK 
autopsy, and what the cause of death is determined to be. 
Gale, the British Embassy Poloff, advised that he will keep &#x000A
;us informed on any developments he receives. 
TEFFT

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