Georgian Court Seizes Imedi

TBILISI, Georgia -- A Tbilisi court has seized the television station and assets of multimillionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili, a court spokesman said Friday.

On Jan. 10, Georgian prosecutors charged Patarkatsishvili, who ran against President Mikheil Saakashvili in a snap election five days earlier, with plotting a coup and organizing a terrorist attack.

"The 100 percent stake in Imedi TV, as well as some other assets owned by Patarkatsishvili and people linked to him, have been seized," court spokesman Dito Tikaradze said.

Shalva Shavgulidze, a lawyer for Patarkatsishvili, said the court's decision was "groundless."

Imedi, owned by Patarkatsishvili but operated by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., was raided by police in November -- a move strongly criticized by Georgia's Western partners.

The independent broadcaster came back on air in a month but went off again after two weeks, this time after managing editors said the station had become a hostage of "dirty political games."