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French court releases wanted Georgian ex-minister from arrest

February 27, 2014, 16:27 UTC+3 PARIS
January 30, 2013, the Georgian investigative bodies charged the ex-minister in absentia with bribe taking and conniving at the contraband of ethanol
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© EPA/TAMAS KOVACS

PARIS, February 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Court of appeals in the French city of Aix-en-Provence on Thursday ruled against extraditing former defense minister of Georgia, David Kezerashvili, who had been detained on Cote d’Azure.

“The court awarded a negative judgment on the extradition request by Georgian authorities, and releases David Kezerashvili from bail,” the ruling said. An electronic ankle tracking device was also removed.

The former defense minister was detained in Nice on October 15 when about to fly to Albania. Kezerashvili was taken to Aix-en-Provence where the local judges decided to “hold him in custody with a view to possible extradition”.

January 30, 2013, the Georgian investigative bodies charged the ex-minister in absentia with bribe taking and conniving at the contraband of ethanol. The bribes, supposedly, totaled 13 billion euro. In prosecutors' opinion, Kezerashvili’s illegal activity caused the Georgian state the damage of $50 million.

Kezerashvili’s lawyers denied his guilt, saying the Georgian authorities persecuted their client for political reasons.

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