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7 Mar, 2008 03:55

Georgian ‘rebel minister’ accuses president of buying media

Georgia's former defence minister and opposition party leader Irakly Okruashvili has revealed fresh accusations against his former ally Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili.

In an interview with a Georgian TV channel he said Saakashvili used middlemen to acquire stakes in some of the country's major companies, such as media company Rustavi-2 and mobile phone operator Geocell. 

Irakly Okruashvili is now in France waiting for a court to decide whether to extradite him to Georgia or grant him political asylum. 

Georgian prosecutors have filed a number of charges against him, including the abuse of office and money laundering. 

Okruashvili says the charges are fabricated and claims the case is political rather than judicial.