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    TBILISI, February 23, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Marina Kvaratskhelia) - Members of Eduard Shevardnadze family have hired several foreign lawyers from the United States and Europe to plead for the interests of the ex-President's son-in-law Giorgy Dzhokhtaberidze.

    Dzhokhtaberidze, the founder of the Magti mobile communication company, is now under a three-month arrest in a pre-trial detention centre. He is charged with tax evasion in very large amounts.

    "The other day, several foreign lawyers will arrive in Tbilisi to plead for the interests of Dzhokhtaberidze," the ex-President's son Paata Shevardnadze told reporters. He specially arrived from Paris for the trial.

    According to Paata Shevardnadze, "there are all signs that a political pressure is being brought to bear on the members of the Shevardnadze family." "At last Sunday hearing, the Mtatzminda-Krtsaniss district court refused to take one million laris as a bail for Giorgy Dzhokhtaberidze which was offered by the Shevardnadze family. This sum is 300,000 laris more than that for the concealment, of which the Prosecutor General's Office accuses Dzhokhtaberidze. Despite our readiness to pay this sum, the court satisfied the prosecutor's office appeal and left the accused under arrest. This fact clearly shows that a political pressure is being brought to bear on the members of the family of the former Georgian President," Paata Shevardnadze said.

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