On March 16, 2020, Government of Georgia sent official messages to citizens of Georgia in relation to novel coronavirus via Magticom Ltd., Silknet JSC. and Vioni Georgia Ltd. calling on to comply with the World Health Organization’s recommendations.
Following that, a group of individuals, sent to some citizens fake messages on behalf of “Government” and “Health Protection” on the scope of spread and negative outcomes of the virus, as well as excessive measures allegedly taken by Government. Through the mentioned action, they tried to affect people’s physiological condition, spread panic and chaos through disseminating disinformation against the background of pandemic of novel coronavirus declared worldwide that might have led to hindering of normal functioning of state institutions and organizations. Upon spreading of the fake messages, the State Security Department of the State Security Service of Georgia has launched an instant investigation in order to reveal individuals involved in the criminal action, as well as to prevent further sending of messages containing disinformation to Georgian people, intensive operative-searching and investigative activities have been carried out. It has been established, that the messages had been sent by means of services of the companies: “SMS OFFICE” and “MS Group”. Searches have been conducted on the basis of the court ruling in the mentioned companies, as a result of which computer equipment, cell phones and various electric devices containing information have been seized as evidence.
On the given stage, dozens of witnesses have been interviewed and other individuals participating in spreading of fake messages are being revealed in order to carry out further investigative activities with them.
Investigation is carried out by the State Security Department into the fact of sabotage under paragraph I, article 318 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.