GeorgiaIn case you're interested, you can read about the new show here, here, here. Evidently the people at Imedi want to sex up those uptight Georgians, so they hired a playboy bunny hostess to show them the ropes. Even MSN Lifestyle covered the news, so you *know* that Georgia must be a bunch of people desperately in need of loosening-their-morals cultural help from "The West." So anyway, interesting as that may be, I couldn't help but wonder, who own this station?
Well, I am not the only person to wonder.
First off, here's an excellent analysis trying to make sense of who would decide to run the war simulation and why...
The most down-to-earth question remains: why exactly did Imedi embark upon this adventure controversial and potentially risk the survival of the media group? A citizens' movement has already announced that it would drag the matter to court. In the fake report, the use and falsification of outrageous lyrics and existing persons of importance (Barack Obama, Eric Fournier, the French Ambassador, the leaders of Baltic states and Poland, who all called for aid to save Georgia ) would be sufficient to bring down the group in the lawsuit.
Currently, Imedi is run by a close associate of President Saakashvili, Giorgi Arveladze. However, it differs from the public channels and those that are clearly and openly allied to the power such as Rustavi 2. For a time the opposition's main media source, owned by Badri Patarkatsishvili--personal opponent to Saakashvili--had been closed following the events of November 7, 2007. After the astonishing death of Patarkatsishvili during the presidential campaign in which he participated, the question of its ownership, with the purchase of a major part of shares by a certain Joseph Kay, whom the opposition accuses of being a government agent, has been a murky issue. In any case, Imedi has since become another voice of the party in power.
About Giorgi Arveladze: "A longtime ally and deputy of president Mikhail Saakashvili, Arveladze was a central actor in the Rose Revolution of November 2003. He was put in charge of President Saakashvili's PR campaign of 5 January Georgian presidential election." (wikipedia)
Supposedly Arveladze did not expect the simulation to cause such a panic. Mm hmm.
As for the mysterious Joseph Kay...
Kay *claimed* to be the cousin of the last owner of the station, who died of a "heart attack" while exiled in the UK.
The last owner of the station, Badri Patarkatsisvili, was a Jewish Georgian oligarch. He was into it all -- all the typical oligarch business interests, dirty cut-throat dealings, the whole thing.
I'm guessing a split opened up between these guys, probably because Saakashvili reportedly has very serious personality defects, like tie-sucking under stress, which tends to reduce confidence in his abilities. But, probably Saakashvili seemed easier to control for TPTB. In any case, Patarkatsishvili opposed Saakashvili.
Arkady Shalovich Patarkatsishvili, was born in 1955, to a family of the Jewish Georgian intelligentsia in Tbilisi, then capital of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. ...[big snip covering his life as an oligarch - ed.]
Although Patarkatsishvili had initially supported the administration of President Saakashvili, he became disillusioned, notably after the mysterious death of the Prime Minister, Zurab Zhvania (obituary, February 4, 2005) . He became involved in opposition politics, and it was after a rally in November last year that the Georgian government declared a state of emergency, shut down Imedi and accused Patarkatsishvili of plotting a coup. The station was later allowed to reopen.
Patarkatsishvili went into exile in Britain and Israel. In December it was claimed in The Sunday Times that a Georgian government official had been plotting to kill Patarkatsishvili. Despite this, he launched a chaotic campaign in the snap presidential elections called by Saakashvili. Unable to return to Georgia, and pulling out and then re-entering the race days before the vote, he scored only 7 per cent.
Despite this failure, Patarkatsishvili was a household name in Georgia. People knew him for his eccentric appearance, with his moustache a flamboyant blaze of white on his upper lip - and for his excesses. While he was in Moscow rumours spread that, for example, he bought his wife the whole floor of an apartment block in the heart of the city. He also owned a large estate in Georgia, as well as the Dinamo Tblisi football team, and a multimillion-pound mansion in Leatherhead, Surrey, where he died
Anyway, back to Kay, who suddenly claimed to be this dead oligarch's cousin, and the executor of his will as a matter of fact.
In what has been described as a "desperate step", controversial US-based buisnessman Joseph Kay, who has claimed to the be the executor of the will of Badri Patarkatsishvili (pictured) has now accused the late billionaire's widow of having him murdered in a new law suit filed in New York.
Patarkatsishvili died two years ago today, in exile in Surrey, England. He had fled Georgia after being accused of plotting a coup against Mikheil Saakashvili.
Patarkatsishvili was the owner of the Imedi TV station which was stormed by special forces on 7 November 2007. On his death Kay announced that Patarkatsishvili, whom he claimed was a relative (the claim is disputed), had given him control of Imedi.
Kay last year then said - in a statement subsequently underlined by Mikheil Saakashvili's own office - that he had sold 90% of Imedi to the sovereign wealth fund of the Gulf emirate Rah Al-Khaimah.
Well most of this has since fallen apart.
But Patarkatsishvili's family never accepted Kay's claims and two weeks ago announced a major victory over him which has quickly led to the unravelling of much of Kay's claims and seen the stain of corruption spread into the President's office. In particular the authorities in Ras Al-Khaimah have chosen to claim that they did not buy Imedi - effectively exposing the president to the claim of having lied about a major business deal for reasons of political convenience.
...We are still searching for information about the mysterious "Mark Monem" who Kay said represented the RAK Invesment Authority when he announced the sale of Imedi. Please look here for more details.The statement from the oligarch's family begins...
Recently, several European courts have dealt with the dispute between the Estate of Badri Patarkatsishvili and his step cousin Joseph Kay. The High Court in England recently ruled that Joseph Kay is an unfit character to manage or have any control over assets as an Executor and is banned from doing so in England. Courts in Gibraltar and Liechtenstein also recently ruled against Joseph Kay’s claims that numerous assets under his management were his and not Badri’s.^^^^^^^
This all devolves into chaos pretty quickly. The 90% ownership interest, Ras Al-Khaimah Invesment Authority (RAKIA), is the sovereign wealth fund of the absolute monarchy of the United Arab Emirates.
But allegedly, through a series of unfortunate mishaps and poor spelling choices and barely plausible explanations, as though these guys can't afford laywers or something, RAKIA now claims they do not never have never did have anything to do with any of this no way. Nope. Never heard of it. It was RAAK, not RAK, and not RAKIA. Innocent mistake. Sorry we missed it, we're just really busy counting our money. ' Kay?
In fact they ask us to believe they let a year go past where a bunch of imposters, with the active connivance of the president of Georgia, the Georgian telecommunications regulator, the national TV media and Giorgi Arveladze, passed themselves off as representatives of RAKIA when they were nothing of the sort. Indeed we all now know that the company that bought the station was RAAK, and not RAK, Georgia Holding.
mystery man, Mark Monem
And the only person who would seem to know is the person introduced by Joseph Kay as the local representative of the holding company which allegedly purchased 90% of Imedi, Mark Monem.
Rakeen used a specially established vehicle, RAK Georgia Holding, to buy the company, introducing Mark Monem (see video), a local representative of Rakeen at the press conference where the sale was announced.
...Who Mark Monem was or is, is not explained.
Are we supposed to believe this bizarre tale?
Noted expert on Georgia Cory Welt says we should. He might be right, but we confess to being not entirely convinced.
RAKIA’s denial of ownership just as they are staring down the barrel of a legal gun seems just too convenient. What sort of serious company lets people steal its brand for a year and says nothing about it?
One person who surely knows the answer is the mysterious Mark Monem (pictured).
Which is exactly why we are asking for all the help we can get to find out who he is.
And who is "noted expert on Georgia" Cory Welt, who encourages us to believe that it was all an honest mixup? No idea. He runs a blog to "monitor and promote democratic reform in Georgia." His blogroll includes a few NGOs and government links. He has posted 13 times. He lists himself in Washington DC. He's been on booger since October 2009. He has 110 profile views.
I'm not gonna say it. Draw your own conclusions based on your experience of the internet.
Kay's lawyer hails from New York. This is from March 2008. According to this source, Kay's lawyer, Seltzer, was known to be a document forger two years ago:
Oddly, no one had known that Josef Kay is the Badri’s heir, except an American lawyer Mr. Seltzer. As reported by Josef Kay himself, “Mr. Seltzer came to me on the second or third day and told me that Badri Patarkatsishvili had left a will. He left it with Mr. Seltzer in New York.”
In the mean time, Mr. Seltzer is known to have been involved in a few scandalous cases, the last of them being the action by Sergei Veselkov, the owner and founder of Nord Service, Inc (NSI). The action was brought to the Texas Court against former Company’s managers Palter and Keiser, and the lawyer of those two is Mr. Emmanuel Seltzer.
In his suit, the owner accused his hired managers of stealing his company. During the court proceedings, the lawyer Seltzer presented a number of documents and witnesses to prove the alleged fact of selling the company by Mr. Veselkov.
Besides, poor Mr. Veselkov – whose oil drilling companies are working successfully in Siberia and who started the company in question in America for enlarging his business and patenting the technologies - was accused by Mr. Seltzer of procuring, organizing the channel of illegal immigration to the USA, and money laundering.
The experts from NSI managed to prove that all the submitted documents were forged.
3 March the judge Leonard Davis recognized the fact of falsification and declared Sergei Veselkov to be the only legal owner of NSI. It becomes clear from the court’s decision that Palter and Keiser could not be people who have forged the signatures at the presented deeds, as their signatures and those by the false witnesses were just copied from other documents. It’s difficult to figure out by whom it could have been done, if not by the lawyer Seltzer.
...Emmanuel Seltzer, a USA citizen of Russian origin, was considered in the USA to be an expert in struggle with money laundering and organized crime. He cooperated with the US investigative bodies about the case of money laundering through the Bank of New York.
12 March  Emmanuel Seltzer was arrested at the Minsk airport. It is known that the lawyers of Patarkatsishvili’s family had applied to Georgian and Byelorussian authorities, accusing Mr. Seltzer of fraud and forgery of the hereditary deeds. At the time being, Mr. Seltzer is arraigned under the Article 380 Part 2 of the Byelorussian Criminal Code – that’s about use of the forged documents by a group of accomplices.
Josef Kay (his real name is Soso Kakiashvili) said the arrest of his lawyer to be the result of intrigues by Berezovsky.
So why is anyone listening to Kay? He has ZERO credibility.
I started by noting the corrosive effect played by Imedi teevee, given the decision to do a sex talk show in a largely Orthodox Catholic society, hot on the heels of disturbing the Georgian people with a clumsy and outrageous "war of the worlds" stunt.
It's all still a little murky, but by their fruits shall ye know them.
Meanwhile, in other Georgian news...
Mikheil Saakashvili to visit Brussels on March 25
US Congress delegation to visit Georgia March 27-28
69 suspected Georgian mafia members arrested in huge crackdown in Europe, most detained in SPAIN