Georgian authorities turn blind eye to Berezovsky's visits

TBILISI, June 28 (RIA Novosti, Marina Kvaratskhelia) - Russian media tycoon Boris Berezovsky, now living in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom, has in the past twenty days made two trips to Georgia, presumably to see his friend Badri Patarkatsishvili, president of the Georgian Businessmen's Association.

According to officials at the Georgian Interior Ministry's National Border Control Department, when entering Georgia, Berezovsky produced a British passport issued in the name of Platon Yelenin.

Tsisana Chepkhodze, vice-principal of a secondary school in the Georgian resort town of Ureki, told reporters that Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili had come to visit just a few days before, for a second time this month, and that they had dropped in at her school to see its high-tech facilities and to chat with its students.

Berezovsky has made several visits to Georgia at Patarkatsishvili's invitation since the Rose Revolution here in 2003.

Georgian authorities have not prevented the Russian tycoon from entering their country, saying that Georgia is party to the Geneva Convention, a treaty that guarantees protection to political immigrants like Berezovsky.

Berezovsky is wanted by the Russian Prosecutor General's Office for alleged fraud. Legal proceedings were launched against him and two former executives from the LogoVAZ car manufacturer in the summer of 2002.

In the fall of 2003, Berezovsky was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom. On December 3 of that year, he made his first surprise visit to Georgia, meeting briefly with Patarkatsishvili.

Lieutenant General Valery Chkheidze, who was then in charge of Georgia's National Border Control Department and the Georgian Frontier Guards, said that he had not been notified of Berezovsky's visit in advance and had therefore been unable to prevent him from entering with a false passport.

Chkheidze warned in 2003 that if Berezovsky were to return to Georgia again, he would be detained and handed over to the authorities seeking his extradition.

"They will then make an adequate decision," he said.

Berezovsky has visited the republic more than once since that time.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала