TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has brought in new charges against former Defense Minister Davit Kezerasvili, who was detained in France last year.
Davit Kezerashvili, who was announced wanted through Interpol, was detained in October, 2013, at the airport in Nice.
Georgia called for his extradition, but the French government refused.
Kezerashvili was chairman of the Finance Ministry’s financial police and was then appointed defense minister, a post he held during the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.
On Wednesday, the Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement accusing Kezerashvili of abuse of power and embezzlement of a large amount of state money. Investigators say he issued a decree on January 10, 2008, to sign an agreement with Girwood Business Corp., a company registered offshore in the Virgin Islands, in order to embezzle state money.
Alexandre Ninua, former head of the Defense Ministry’s acquisitions department, was also involved in the scheme, prosecutors argue. They say he signed the agreement with Girwood without checking the company’s experience and background. The agreement was about conducting combat training to subunits of the Defense Ministry, a project that would cost 5,685,000 euros.
The agreement was fictitious, investigators argue, and 2,330,937 lari was transferred into the account of Girwood Business Corp as an advance payment.
A fake report was prepared at the ministry regarding training allegedly provided by Girwood to military subunits. This report aimed at transferring the remained amount of money from the contract and 2,729,062.50 euros was additionally transferred to the same account.
The training was never conducted.
If convicted, Kezerashvili may face from seven to eleven years in jail.
The previous charges against him also concern embezzlement of state money, causing USD 50 million loss for the state.