Georgian ex-defense minister arrested in Germany - official

Georgia Materials 28 November 2007 17:45 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Georgian former defense minister and opposition leader Irakly Okruashvili has been arrested in Berlin, Georgian authorities said on Wednesday.

Georgian Interior Ministry chief of staff Shota Khizanishvili said: "I know that German police arrested Irakly Okruashvili. I do not have other details of the arrest - the affair is being looked into by the Georgian Prosecutor General's Office."

German daily Berliner Zeitung earlier reported that Okruashvili was arrested on Tuesday night at the request of Georgian authorities.

The ex-minister was reportedly arrested following a request from the Georgian authorities via Interpol after he failed to show up at court for a trial last week.

Okruashvili, previously a key ally of the Georgian president, in late September publicly accused Mikheil Saakashvili of ordering the murders of political opponents and of plotting to forcibly seize the breakaway Republic of South Ossetia.

Days after making the comments, Okruashvili was arrested and charged with blackmail, money laundering, and abuse of office, but was later released on bail worth about $6 million and left Georgia.