Georgia's Chief Prosecutor Charges 5 in Connection to Sex Tape Scandal

Tbilisi - Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office has continued to identify people responsible for holding and spreading illegally recorded videos, depicting prominent public figures’ private lives.

On Tuesday, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced that criminal prosecution has launched against five individuals for the violation of private and family life.

The Chief Prosecutor released a statement yesterday and announced that criminal proceedings have been launched against the following individuals: Gela Ghurtskaia, Nikoloz Khachapuridze, Inga Chatoiani, Irakli Pkhaladze and Zurab Jamalashvili. If found guilty they could face five years in prison.

On Tuesday two individuals, former Constitutional Security Department official Zurab Jamalashvili and lawyer Irakli Pkhaladze, were arrested on charges of spreading illegal footage of Georgian politicians engaged in various sexual acts.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, last December, a person named, Gela Ghurtskaia visited to the office of Tbilisi based media holding Kronika Plus and presented its editor-in-chief Eliso Chapidze another illegal video depicting a secret moment and asked her to release it through the newspaper.

As inquiry revealed Nikoloz Khachapuridze, a former officer of the Constitutional Security Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs handed the recordings to Ghurtskaia. Khachapuridze obtained the recordings from a friend who got the video from the lawyer Irakli Pkhaladze in summer 2015.

Following the sex tape scandal, the Prosecutor’s office searched the apartment of the lawyer on March 13th, and seized their personal computer, where the previously mentioned and other video recordings were retained.

Based on the investigation, Zurab Jamalashvili, another arrested person for keeping and spreading surveillance videos, provided the lawyer with the video recordings.

Today, Tbilisi City Court sentenced Jamalashvili and Phakadze to prison. The Court made the verdict behind closed doors, as prosecution has asked it, to avoid the identification of individuals involved.

Surveillance videos, depicting the intimate sex lives of prominent public figures and a new round of threats aimed at sitting politicians and working journalists has caused nation-wide hysteria in Georgia.

A compromising video depicting an opposition politician having extramarital sex with an unidentified partner was released on 11th March via YouTube and later privately emailed to several Georgian journalists.

A second video depicting the private sexual habits of several public figures were released via the Internet on Monday.

The sender threatened to release more videos if those in the video refuse to publicly resign from their respective duties by 31st March.

Several major non-governmental organizations operating in Georgia have waded into the issue by re-establishing a campaign originally aimed at combating illegal secrets and wiretapping.

By Tamar Svanidze

Editing by Chloe Diamond

16 March 2016 15:47