16:44 GMT28 January 2020
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    Georgian ex-defense minister arrested in Germany - official - 2

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    MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - Former Georgian defense minister and opposition leader Irakly Okruashvili has been arrested in Berlin, Georgian authorities said on Wednesday.

    Georgian Interior Ministry chief of staff Shota Khizanishvili said: "I know that German police arrested Irakly Okruashvili. I do not have other details of the arrest - the affair is being looked into by the Georgian Prosecutor General's Office."

    German daily Berliner Zeitung earlier reported that Okruashvili was detained on Tuesday night at the request of Georgian authorities.

    The ex-minister was reportedly arrested following a request from the Georgian authorities via Interpol after he failed to show up at court for a trial last week.

    Okruashvili, previously a key ally of the Georgian president, in late September publicly accused Mikheil Saakashvili of ordering the murders of political opponents and of plotting to forcibly seize the breakaway Republic of South Ossetia.

    Days after making the comments, Okruashvili was arrested and charged with blackmail, money laundering, and abuse of office, but was later released on bail worth about $6 million, after which he left Georgia allegedly for medical treatment abroad.

    Berlin prosecutors said Wednesday Georgian authorities have about 40 days to submit evidence backing up the allegations for Okruashvili to be extradited.

    "Georgian authorities have about 40 days to submit all the necessary paperwork regarding the crimes ex-Georgian defense minister Irakly Okruashvili has been charged with," Berlin prosecutor's office spokesman Michael Grunwald said, adding that only after the documents are received will a final decision on the extradition request be made.

    Grunwald said a judge will decide Wednesday whether to keep Okruashvili in custody, after which Berlin's judicial authorities will rule whether an extradition warrant should be issued or not based on the charges against Okruashvili, which should be in line with German criminal legislation.

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