Georgia charges opposition candidate with coup plot
( dpa ) - Georgian prosecutors Thursday charged multimillionaire opposition presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili with plotting a coup and planning a terrorist attack.
In a statement released Thursday prosecutors summoned the self- exiled Patarkatsishvili to the prosecutors office and froze his bank accounts, news agency Interfax reported.
According to the statement, Patarkatsishvili is accused of "collusion aimed at deposing the government in Georgia, masterminding an attack on a statesman and masterminding a terrorist attack.
The charges relate to a compromising video and audio footage released by Georgian authorities in December that allegedly showed Patarkatsishvili bribing a high-ranking Interior Ministry official, Irakli Kodua, in London for the "neutralizing" of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, among other things.
Kodua said he reported the meeting to the Georgian authorities.
Patarkatsishvili, in a televised message to the staff of his television company, Imedi, confirmed he had offered a 100-million- dollar bribe, but claimed his end was to prevent the violence that characterized the November police crackdowns on opposition protestors.
Imedi, seen as a Patarkatsishvili's mouthpiece, has been at the heart of the bitter conflict that lead President Mikhail Saakashvili to call Saturday's snap elections that saw him re-elected.
Several journalists resigned in protest over their deception after Patarkatsishvili's admission.
Patarkatsishvili pulled out of the race amid the scandal, but rejoined on January 3 winning close to 7 per cent of the vote, according to the election commission website.
Saakashvili fled Georgia for Israel and Britain fearing assassination attempts.