It is actively disseminated across various media and social networks that the fourth President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, was paid USD 11,500 to work on a petition about Mikheil Saakashvili’s issue.

Initially, the information was reported on TV Imedi’s Imedis Kvira programme, although after consultations with FactCheck, the TV channel made some amendments to the programme.

The aforementioned information was also published on Facebook by the PosTV company with the following text: "According to the FARA documents published by the US Department of Justice, Giorgi Margvelashvili took more than USD 11,500 for lobbying for Mikheil Saakashvili." This information was also voiced on various PosTV programmes. The claim was also disseminated by other media and different sources in social networks.

Levan Chotorlishvili published a post with the same content in social networks. According to him: "Based on FARA's data, Giuli and Temur Alasania paid USD 11,500 to President Margvelashvili. Margvelashvili bought alcohol and appeared at opposition rallies inebriated, talking nonsense. This is the Georgian attitude vis-a-vis the case. Georgia is a country where you can buy a former president for USD 11,500, the price of a second-hand car."

FactCheck verified the disseminated claim that Giorgi Margvelashvili received USD 11,500 dollars for working on Mikheil Saakashvili’s issue according to the FARA data.

On 6 June 2023, the US Department of Justice did indeed publish a relevant document in line with the American FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) and it covers a period for six months, until 31 May 2023.

The document says that “the registrant (GP International LLC/DBA GlobalPoint International) provided strategic counsel, strategic communications and outreach activities to support Giulia Alasania on behalf of Mr Saakashvili and their legal team in an effort to raise awareness about Mr Saakashvili's health status and to build support for the former president's release on humanitarian and/or legal grounds.”

GP International LLC/DBA GlobalPoint International is a lobbying consulting firm based in Washington, DC. In the section of the document showing information about activities and financing carried out by the registrant, the company indicates that it actually paid out USD 11,500 in the six-month reporting period. However, the recipient of this amount is not Giorgi Margvelashvili but Cision/PRnewswire. Therefore, it was not Giorgi Margvelashvili who received USD 11,550 on 9-10 February 2023 but Cision/PRnewswire. According to the document, the purpose of the transferred money was for a wider distribution of a press release.

Cision/PRnewswire is one of the global networks of multimedia platforms and information distribution and one of the leading representatives of the commercial news distribution industry. The Cision/PRNewswire network encompasses nearly 3,000 magazines and television and radio news outlets. Therefore, the main purpose of the company is to disseminate information, in this case - a press release, through its channels. In the FARA document, the distribution of the press release was indicated as the purpose of the money transferred to Cision/PRNewswire.

It is stressed in the document that Cision/PRNewswire received money twice in the reporting period for the distribution of two different press releases. In the first cases, USD 1,841.19 was transferred to the company on 2-3 December 2023. In the second case, the company received USD 11,559 on 9-10 February 2023. The document does not indicate that Giorgi Margvelashvili was the recipient of the money.

The only sentence in the document where Giorgi Margvelashvili’s name appears is in fact in the title of the press release that Cision/PRNewswire was supposed to distribute: “Fourth Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili leads coalition efforts to save former president Saakashvili’s life.” Press releases, distributed by Cision/PRNewswire were published with this title including one in the Bloomberg network (see the links 1, 2, 3.)

The press release says that Giorgi Margvelashvili, together with over 150 former and current politicians and thought leaders, have issued the following statement, underlining that: “If anything is to happen to President Saakashvili, the responsibility for violating his health, dignity and life will be solely with Georgia's current government.”

Therefore, the information that Giorgi Margvelashvili received USD 11,500 for his work on Mikheil Saakashvili’s issue according to the published FARA documents is false. In fact, this money was not paid to Giorgi Margvelashvili but to the Cision/PRNewswire company for the distribution of a press release about Mikheil Saakashvili.


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