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    Georgia's Saakashvili plans to flee country - opposition leader

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    A senior Georgian opposition party figure said on Friday that President Mikheil Saakashvili and his immediate circle were preparing to flee the country, and had already started transferring money into foreign banks.

    TBILISI, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Georgian opposition party figure said on Friday that President Mikheil Saakashvili and his immediate circle were preparing to flee the country, and had already started transferring money into foreign banks.

    "Saakashvili and his government have already packed their suitcases in the hope that they will be able to live abroad calmly and without any worries on the property they stole here," Georgy Gugava, one of the Labor Party's leaders, told journalists.

    He also said that his party would request that world governments freeze "their bank accounts, as was done with the president of Zimbabwe."

    Gugava also said that Saakashvili's brother had transferred last year "a huge amount of money made at the expense of the oil business to Indonesia." He also said Georgian Defense Minister David Kezerashvili had transferred $80 million to Israel.

    "Tens of millions of dollars were transferred by representatives of the ruling forces to banks in Mexico and Switzerland. The Labor Party has sufficient proof of this," he went on.

    "All this property belongs to the Georgian state and the Georgian nation, and when Saakashvili and his ministers come before the court, it will be returned to the people," Gugava said.

    Saakashvili came to power in the former Soviet republic on the back of the so-called rose revolution in 2003.

    Last November, Georgia was rocked by opposition rallies for six days as protestors occupied central Tbilisi, demanding Saakashvili's resignation over allegations of corruption and increasing authoritarianism.

    The Georgian leader responded by sending in riot police to crack down on protestors on November 7. Over 500 people were injured, according to the U.S. group Human Rights Watch, when police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to break up the demonstrations.

    Saakashvili subsequently called early elections for January and was reelected with 53% of the vote.

    He has recently come under criticism in Georgia over a five-day war with Russia in August that began when Georgian forces attacked breakaway South Ossetia. Domestic critics say that Saakashvili acted recklessly in involving Georgia in a war which it could not possibly hope to win.

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