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Georgia seizes Maestro TV satellites, alleging opposition vote-buying plan

The Tbilisi City Court has seized several thousand satellite dishes imported by Georgian broadcaster Maestro TV, following a request by the country’s state prosecutor, according to local reports.

The prosecutor has alleged that Maestro TV intended to use the dishes as part of a ‘vote buying’ exercise on behalf of the country’s opposition.

Maestro CEO Ilya Kikabidze rejected the accusation that the dishes were acquired with the support of companies associated with leading opposition figure Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Maestro TV, which is available via cable and satellite, including on the recently launched MagtiSat DTH service, announced earlier this month that it planned to distribute the dishes for a minimal fee in rural areas to expand its reach.
Georgian officials had earlier seized satellite dishes purchased by cable operator and satellite broadcaster Global TV, part-owned by Ivanishvili’s brother.