Former Georgian minister gets jail term for graft

March 28th, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Tbilisi, March 28 (RIA Novosti) A court in the Georgian capital Friday sentenced former defence minister Irakly Okruashvili, currently in France awaiting extradition, to 11 years in prison for taking bribes. His lawyer, Eka Beseliya, described the court’s ruling as “political” and said it would be challenged within a month.

Okruashvili last September accused his former ally President Mikheil Saakashvili of plotting to seize Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia, lobbying for his support to get commercial deals and ordering the killing of businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili.

Georgian prosecutors charged Okruashvili with abuse of office, money laundering and corruption.

The former defence minister was flown to France from Germany last year where he was arrested in November at the request of Georgian authorities. A Paris court released the former minister on bail Jan 30.

Okruashvili said in early March that he would contest as the leader of the opposition Movement for United Georgia party in the May parliamentary polls.
RIA Novosti

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