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On 25 November 2014, former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, joined the TV programme Archevani

live from New York. He spoke about the current government’s intentional suspension of projects initiated by the former government. He also noted that the current government tries to remove former government representatives from the ongoing political processes and block them at the international level. He recalled the case of Nika Gilauri and stated: “Nika Gilauri was going to be appointed as Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman. This was a project by the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)… the Government of Georgia sent a note and said that if Nika Gilauri were appointed, the Government of Georgia would cease relations with the EBRD.”

FactCheck

took interest in Mr Saakashvili’s statement and verified its accuracy.

On 4 November 2014, former Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri, responded to the information regarding his appointment as Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman on his Facebook page. He states:

“I indeed received an offer from the President of the EBRD, as this organisation is a member of the newly created Council of the Business Ombudsman Office of Ukraine (and the author of the idea as well). I arrived in Kyiv, met every member of the council (the representatives of the Government and private sector) and received a unanimous offer from them although I had to reject it in the end as it turned out that it legally contradicted my other current agreements. Therefore, part of the widespread information is true. The offer indeed took place, although my existing personal and business agreements came into legal conflict with the offer and I had to turn it down. I want to thank everyone who expressed such trust in me, especially the President of the EBRD, Mr Chakrabati, the members of the Council of the Business Ombudsman Office and the members of the Government of Ukraine. Moreover, thanks to everyone who was delighted with my good news.”

In order to verify the information, FactCheck

contacted the former President of Georgia via Facebook and tried to specify the sources upon which he made the statement and if he had any documents proving this information. Although, we have not received an answer from him.

Conclusion

Nika Gilauri indeed received an offer for being appointed as Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman. Mr Gilauri approved the given information on 4 November via his Facebook page. Nevertheless, he explained that the position legally contradicted his ongoing agreements; therefore, he turned the offer down.

As we see, the former President is correct when saying that Nika Gilauri was offered the position of Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman although he is wrong when he states that the interference of the current government is the reason for not appointing Mr Gilauri to the aforementioned position. As Mr Gilauri explained, he refused the given position by himself and FactCheck

has no reason to doubt his assertion.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that Mr Saakashvili’s statement: “Nika Gilauri was going to be appointed as Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman. This was a project by the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)… the Government of Georgia sent a note and said that if Nika Gilauri were appointed, the Government of Georgia would cease relations with the EBRD,” is FALSE.