French court releases Georgian ex-defence minister from pre-trial detention

Photo: French court releases Georgian ex-defence minister from pre-trial detention
 / Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia, Feb. 3

By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

On February 3 the French Aix-En-Provence Court of Appeal made a decision to release the former Georgian Defense Minister, Davit Kezerashvili from detention.

The ex-minister's lawyers told Georgian journalists that he should not leave France till the trial, which is scheduled for February 27.

That same day, the Court of Appeal of Aix-En-Provence will make the final decision on the possibility of Kezerashvili's extradition to Georgia.

Kezerashvili was arrested in mid-October 2013 at Nice airport while trying to fly to Albania.

Earlier on Jan. 30, 2013, Georgia's investigation authorities indicted the former minister in absentia "for taking large bribes and facilitating the smuggling of ethanol".

Kezerashvili, who served as the head of financial police of the Finance Ministry (2004-2006) and defence minister (2006-2008) assisted two businessmen during this period in the importation of ethanol to Georgia with no payment of customs duty and production of cognac alcohol violating the production technology.

The prosecution believes that as a result of Kezerashvili's illegal activities Georgian state suffered damage amounting to $50 million.

Translated by E.A.

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