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France Releases Georgian Ex-Defense Minister On Bail

Former Georgian Defense Minister David Kezerashvili arrives at Aix-en-Provence courthouse for a hearing on December 5.
A French court has released former Georgian Defense Minister David Kezerashvili on bail.

On February 3, the Aix-en-Provence court released Kezerashvili until February 27, the day when a decision on his extradition is due.

Kezerashvili was arrested in France in October on a weapons-trafficking charge.

Investigators in Georgia say Kezerashvili is suspected of money laundering, illegal property sales in Tbilisi, and taking a $12 million bribe to facilitate alcohol smuggling in Georgia.

Kezerashvili is a close associate of former Georgian President Mihkeil Saakashvili.

A number of investigations were launched against officials representing Saakashvili's United National Movement party after it lost parliamentary elections in October 2012 to the Georgian Dream political alliance.

Saakashvili left office in November after serving two terms.

Based on reporting by Interfax and