Georgian PM under fire for using government plane for personal reasons

12 სექ 202318:57
3 წუთის საკითხავი
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Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is under fire for using a government jet for a private trip to the US in August.  Mr Garibashvili then reportedly traveled to the United States to accompany his son, who had begun his studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Georgian government's head of strategic communications, Nino Giorgobiani, admitted that the prime minister had flown to the US on a chartered plane, but insisted that no state budget funds had been used and that no laws had been broken.

An investigation by TV Pirveli revealed that the PM had in fact flown to Munich not on a private, state-owned plane, and then traveled to the US first class on a commercial flight with his son.

Tamaz Gaiashvili, head of Georgian Airways, which operates and manned the aircraft in question, confirmed that his team had flown the prime minister to and from Munich on a charter flight commissioned by the Georgian government.

The Government StratCom issued a further statement accusing TV Pirveli of 'disinformation', while confirming the use of a government plane, but insisting that it had been chartered by the PM with his personal funds and that no taxpayers' money had been spent.

TV Pirveli's investigation found that the CRJ (Canada Regional Jet) did indeed fly to Munich on August 19 and was parked there for a week - while Mr Garibashvili was in the US - and then returned. The investigation revealed that there were up to 10 passengers on board, including several of Mr Garibashvili's family members and bodyguards.

As if the news of the Prime Minister chartering a plane to bring his offspring starting a school year in the US was not enough, Anzor Chubinidze, head of the Special State Protection Service and former head of Bidzina Ivanishvili's security, stated today flight (around €34,000) was actually paid for by Mr Garibashvili's pensioner father.

That amount is almost three times of Mr Garibashvili’s official annual income. In 2022, Mr Garibashvili's annual salary was around 45,000 GEL (about $17,000).

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