Tbilisi, DFWatch – Five Defense Ministry officials who were detained in 2014 on embezzlement charges and released on the basis of personal guarantees from several MPs, have been sentenced to 7 years in prison each by Tbilisi City Court on Monday.

Lawyers plan to appeal decision in the upper instance court.

Statement of Tbilisi City Court reads that the five are charged for embezzling over 4 million laris (more than USD 1.8 million).

“An agreement was signed, according to which the Ministry of Defense had to pay JSC Silknet 6,720,877.42 laris in total and had to receive services/property/product valued only 2,618,004.82 laris,” statement of the Tbilisi City Court reads.

The so-called cables case is one of the most high-profile criminal investigations in recent months. It resulted in a split in the ruling coalition as Irakli Alasania and his Free Democrats left the government and went into opposition.

Charges haven’t been dropped, and investigators accuse them of embezzlement of state money in connection with the building of high-speed broadband.

Nugzar Kaishauri, Gizo Ghlonti, Davit Tsipuria, Giorgi Lobzhanidze and Archil Alavidze were detained in October, 2014, while then Defense Minister Irakli Alasania was visiting France. He immediately accused the government of trying to discredit the ministry and interrupting his signing of a military procurement deal with a company in France.