Georgia, Tbilisi, Jan.18 / Trend, N.Kirtskhalia /
The trial of Israeli businessmen Roni Fuchs and Zeev Frankel will resume at the Tbilisi City Court today.
At the last hearing, Judge Vaja Puhashvili did not satisfy the defense's petition to call Prime Minister Nika Gilauri, Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili and Deputy Justice Minister Tina Burjaliani to the court to give testimony.
Their lawyer, Archil Kbilashvili, said the questioning of the witnesses is important, as they took part in provoking the crime. According to the lawyer, senior officials lied to the Israeli businessmen and then provoked their arrest. The lawyer added that an international arbitration court has ordered the Georgian government to pay more than $98 million to the businessmen, but the government does not want to pay.
Fuchs and Frankel plead not guilty. Their interests are protected by Georgian lawyers Kbilashvili and George Kavlashvili and Israeli lawyer Mordekhai Tvizin. The process is observed by representatives of the embassies of Israel and the United States.
The last judicial process was also attended by Israeli Ambassador Itzhak Gerberg.
Fuchs and Frankel were arrested at an elite restaurant in Batumi on Oct.14 during a meeting with Deputy Finance Minister Avtandil Haraidze. According to the investigation, the businessmen offered Haraidze a bribe of $7 million in exchange for refusing an attempt to protest the international arbitration court's decision.
Yesterday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the Georgian government demanding the release of its citizens.