Additional Charges Against Alleged Hitman in TV Anchor Murder Plot
The State Security Service (SSG) of Georgia stated on November 27 that it had filed additional charges against Magomed Gutsiev, a Russian citizen arrested in June over his alleged involvement in a murder plot against Georgian anchor Giorgi Gabunia, who insulted Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2019.
The SSG said Gutsiev was additionally charged with stalking (Article 151’1 of the Criminal Code), unlawful obtaining, storage, use, dissemination of or otherwise making available personal information or data (157 CC) about Gabunia, illegal crossing of Georgian state border (Art. 344), and making, sale or use of a forged document (Art. 362). Earlier charges against Gutsiev include purchase and use of counterfeit documents.
The Counter-Terrorism Center of the SSG established that Gutsiev had repeatedly crossed the Georgian state border illegally with a falsified passport under an alias of Vasambek Bokov, carrying out “systematic surveillance” over Gabunia and obtaining information about him.
In addition, Giorgi Gabunia will receive a victim status as investigations are still underway, the SSG added.
The alleged murder plot first came to spotlight on June 15, when Mtavari Arkhi TV Director Nika Gvaramia stated that Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov sent “Vasambek Bokov,” an ethnic-Ingush citizen of Russia, to Georgia to assassinate Mtavari Arkhi TV anchor Gabunia (Both, Gvaramia and Gabunia served in Rustavi 2 TV when the latter made controversial address against Putin). Gvaramia also noted then, that months earlier, Ukrainian authorities had already launched an inquiry into the alleged murder plot “coordinated from Russia.”
It was following Gvaramia’s remarks, that the SSG announced about Russian national V. B. being apprehended on charges of purchasing and possessing counterfeit documents, underscoring that arrest came as part a larger investigation into plotting to commit murder, claiming it helped avert a “graver” crime.
Kadyrov was cited in Russian media, soon after Gabunia’s controversial address, as calling for launching an investigation against the Georgian journalist, calling it “a hostile move” from the Georgian side.
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