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Georgia detains ex-PM on misspending charges


08:12, May 22, 2013

TBILISI, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Georgian authorities detained former prime minister Vano Merabishvili and another former senior official Tuesday on multiple charges, including misspending public funds.

The arrests, carried out after initial interrogations in Georgia's second largest city of Kutaisi, were made public through a press briefing held by the prosecutor's office.

Merabishvili, now secretary-general of the opposition United National Movement party, was charged with misspending 5.2 million Georgian laris (3.2 million U.S. dollars) on the party's election campaign prior to last October's legislative polls.

Also detained on the same charge was former health minister Zurab Chiaberashvili.

The former prime minister was also said to be facing separate charge of appropriation of private properties and embezzlement of 158,000 Georgian laris (97,530 dollars) in 2009.

The United National Movement was the ruling party in the South Caucasus country from 2003 till October last year, when it lost the parliamentary elections to the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia coalition.

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