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9 Jan, 2008 14:20

Georgia's 'rebel minister' seeks asylum in France

Georgia's former Defence Minister Irakly Okruashvili has been taken to Paris and is in French custody. He was transferred from Germany, where he was arrested last November at the request of Georgian authorities.

He is wanted in his home country on charges of money laundering, abuse of office and negligence

Because he entered the EU on a French visa, it's up to France to decide whether to send him back to Georgia. French officials said he's entitled to apply for asylum in the normal way.

Last September Okruashvili accused Georgia's President Saakashvili of plotting political assassinations.

After being arrested and charged with corruption he withdrew his allegations.

He was released on bail and left Georgia, later claiming he was forced to confess.