Shevardnadze's daughter pays $15.5 mln for release of husband

Manana Shevardnadze, the daughter of the former president of Georgia, transferred $15.5 million to the country's budget from her personal account to free her husband, Georgy Dzhokhtaberidze.

"There is nothing surprising in it, except for one aspect: the daughter of the former Georgian president transferred the money from her personal account. This leads us to a conclusion about the financial opportunities of the Eduard Shevardnadze family," Geogia's Prosecutor General Irakly Okruashvili said at a special briefing.

According to him, Mr. Dzhokhtaberidze will be released within a few hours and the criminal case launched against him will most probably be closed.

"The case against Mr. Dzhokhtaberidze will be closed. We could not refuse such a sum," the prosecutor said.

Founder of the Magtikom mobile operator, Mr. Dzhokhtaberidze was detained on February 20 in a special operation of the Prosecutor General's Office personally led by Mr. Okruashvili. He was detained in the Tbilisi airport on board a Airzena, a Georgian airlines, plane headed for Paris.

Mr. Dzhokhtaberidze was charged under Article 218 of the country's criminal code - major tax evasion. His company had not paid 700,000 lari ($350,000) in taxes.

The Mtatsminda-Krtsanissky district court in Tbilisi met the prosecutor's request and sentenced Mr. Dzhokhtaberidze to three months in prison before his trial. If he were found guilty, he would have faced up to five years in jail.

Despite the readiness of the Shevardnadze family to pay 2 million lari ($1 million) to compensate the budget losses, they failed to buy freedom of the former president's son-in-law.

Mr. Dzhokhtaberidze owns a 51% stake in Magitkom, the other 49% belong to the U.S.-based Metromedia.

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