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Tbilisi At the sitting of the Court f Appeals on January 10, the Chief Prosecutor's Office of Georgia will free ex-defence minister of Georgia Irakli Okruashvili from charges, according to which in 2008 Tbilisi City Court sentenced him to 11 year imprisonment. This fact was stated by head of the Department of Illicit Incomes Legalization Criminal Persecution of the Chief Prosecutor's Office of Georgia Temur Mikaberidze at the briefing on Tuesday, January 8.
According to Mikaberidze, the question is about three Articles of the Criminal Code of Georgia: 342 - neglect of his duties, 332 - power abuse, 338 - bribery of sufficient sums by an organized group through extortion.
According to materials of the case, chairman of the Georgian National Communication Commission Dmitri Kitoshvili made former MP Jemal Svanidze in autumn 2006 sell his share in Geocell mobile communication company with market price $10 mln for its nominal price amounting to $250 thousand to founder of company Artu Guram Gogua. During interrogation Dmitri Kitoshvili stated that he made Jemal Svanidze carry out that deal on the order f defence minister of that time Irakli Okruashvili.
"The prosecution's only witness Dmitri Kitoshvili backed down his evidences and said he had given them under pressure. Thus, there are no evidences in this case that became a basis for brining Okruashvili charges, correspondingly, the Prosecutor's Office plans to withdraw accusations in this case", Mikaberidze noted.
Georgian President's former close associate, Okruashvili was dismissed from the defence minister's post in 2007 and announced about formation of the opposition movement. He made accusations against country's top officials. Two days later, Okruashvili was arrested on corruption charges. At the interview, he backtracked from his accusations and partially pleaded guilty. Irakli Okruashvili was released on GEL 10 million (US$6.5million) bail for the period of pre-trial investigation. Later on, he was declared wanted. In April 2008, Okruashvili was granted political refugee status in France.
On November 20, 2012 he returned voluntarily back to Georgia and was arrested on the basis of Tbilisi City Court's rule of March 28, 2008, which had sentenced him to 11 year imprisonment for "bribery of substantial sum through extortion by an organized group". Okruashvili's return give possibility to his lawyers to appeal against Tbilisi City Court's rule in the higher court instance.
On Tuesday, the Chief Prosecutor's Office also stated that it freed Okruashvili from two accusations - money laundering and power abuse.
In 2008 Tbilisi City Court also considered the second criminal case against Okruashvili, episodes of which were covered by the articles "power abuse and neglect of duties" that concerned purchased of low quality ammunition, consideration of the case was continued after parliamentary elections on October 1, 2012. On December 5, 2012 court proceedings on the third case against Okruashvili began in Tbilisi City Court, they concerned evens in May 2011. On January 4, 2013 the Prosecutor's Office petitioned Tbilisi City Court to change measure of restraint for Okruashvili (on the case of events in May 2011) and release him on bail, but the court did not satisfy the petition.
At the present time ex-defence minister of Georgia is serving a term of punishment in Tbilisi prison