TBILISI, DFWatch–A former Georgian defense minister has been detained in France.
According to the Interior Ministry, Davit Kezerashvili, who served in President Saakashvili’s government, was detained on Monday in France in a joint operation between Interpol’s Paris and Tbilisi bureaus.
Kezerashvili is charged with abuse of powers and receiving bribes. The Finance Ministry’s Investigative Service introduced charges of assisting a criminal gang with manufacturing fake cognac using additives.
Investigators claim he has made more than USD 12 million on this and caused the state a loss of USD 50 million.
Kezerashvili was chairman of the Finance Ministry’s financial police and then was appointed to the post of defense minister, a post he held during the 2008 Russia-Georgian war.
According to the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor’s Office in France is carrying out procedures as defined by law. Rustavi 2 reported that in France there is a hearing where the judge is considering whether Kezerashvili may be kept in detention while the issue of his extradition is under review.
Under Georgian legislation he may face from 11 to 15 years in jail, if convicted.