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    EX-PRESIDENT'S SON: SHEVARNADZE RECEIVED NO GUARANTEES ON HIS FAMILY'S IMMUNITY

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    TBILISI, February 23, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Son of the Georgian ex-President denied a number of mass media reports stating that Eduard Shevarnadze received guarantees on his family immunity upon his retirement. He also stated that the Shevarnadze family is a victim of political persecution on behalf of the current authorities.

    "It is all done by the authorities, which came to power on a level of democracy respect principles," Paata Shevarnadze said in his interview with Imedi radio station.

    "Shevarnadze retired in order to avoid the bloodshed. What do we have today? The Georgian authorities open fire against peaceful participants of the meeting. It occurred last Saturday, when workers of the printing house Omega-Tegi tried to restore the production and servicemen of the Georgian Interior Forces opened warning fire. If Eduard Shevarnadze could have done one-hundredth part of what the current authorities do he would have been anathematized," Paata Shevarnadze said.

    He also denies the existence of abusive financial practices in the cellular phone company Magti, which was owned by Eduard Shevarnadze's son-in-law Giorgy Dzhokhtabiridze. "There is no evidence of abusive financial practices and embezzlement. The new Georgian authorities, after having amended the Constitution, became the owner of the country and is trying to get control over the major business," the ex-President's son noted.

    "The discredit of Shevarnadze and the desire to gain control over the Magti, which is the second largest taxpayer in Georgia, are the prime aims of the new Georgian authorities," Paata Shevarnadze said.

    General Prosecutor's office accuses Shevarnadze's son-in-law as a major shareholder of the Magti company of the tax evasion, estimated at 700,000 lari ($350,000).

    "I decided to refuse from work for UNESCO and to return to Georgia after 14 year work in France. To some degree I made this decision because the new Georgian authorities politically persecute the Shevarnadze family," the son of the Georgian ex-President said.

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