TBILISI, August 13 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday charged the country’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili with misappropriation of the federal budget.
“Saakashvili is charged with criminal responsibility in a case of misappropriation of the budget,” a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office said at a briefing.
The misappropriated funds are estimated at 8.8 million lari ($5 million). The Prosecutor’s Office said the money has been spent on a chef, a masseuse, hotel stays and a yacht in Italy, among other things. Saakashvili faces from seven to 11 years in prison if proven guilty.
These charges come shortly after Saakashvili and former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili were charged earlier in August with allegedly organizing to have then-Georgian parliament member Valery Gelashvili physically beaten in 2005.
He was also charged in absentia with abuse of power in connection with a crackdown on protesters in November 2007, a raid on Imedi TV and the acquisition of property.
On August 2, Tbilisi City Court upheld the claims of the Prosecutor’s Office and ordered the pre-trial detention of Saakashvili. Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani has said Saakashvili could also soon be put on the international wanted persons list.
Lawyers representing Saakashvili opposed the charges and insisted they are purely politically motivated.