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Former Georgian Defense Minister Acquitted

Georgian ex-Defense minister Davit Kezerashvili arrives at an Aix-en-Provence courthouse in December 2013.
A Tbilisi court has acquitted former Georgian Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili on charges of money laundering, illegal property sales, and taking a $12 million bribe to facilitate alcohol smuggling.

The court on May 27 also annulled the arrest warrant for Kezerashvili.

Kezerashvili, 35, who is currently in France, had been tried in absentia.

He was arrested in France on Tbilisi's request in October but later freed on bail.

In February, a court in Aix-en-Provence ruled against Kezerashvili's extradition to 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.
With reporting by