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Georgian Billionaire Ex-PM Gets France's Top Award

Former Georgian Prime Minister BIdzina Ivanishvili (file photo)

France has awarded its highest distinction to Georgian billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

A French presidential decree published in the Official Journal said Ivanishvili was awarded the Legion of Honor in the rank of Knight, noting that he is an ex-prime minister and founder of Cartu, a charity foundation involved in various areas, including education, culture, and sports.

Ivanishvili, who has served as prime minister for about a year in 2012-2013 -- and is accused by critics of still governing Georgia from behind the scenes -- is also the founder and leader of the country's ruling Georgian Dream party.

The Legion of Honor, France's highest order of merit, is awarded by the French president to French nationals or foreigners, both military and civil.

The order is divided into five degrees -- Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer, and Grand Cross.