TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia's former defense minister, who once accused pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili of plotting to kill an opposition-minded billionaire, has been detained by authorities after he returned to the country from exile.
Irakli Okruashvili threw the ex-Soviet nation into political turmoil in 2008 when he claimed Saakashvili asked him to organize the killing of Badri Patarkatsishvili. Okruashvili was arrested, but fled Georgia after he was freed on bail.
He was granted asylum in France after a Georgian court found him guilty of extortion and sentenced him in absentia to 11 years in prison. Justice Minister Teya Tsulukiani said that the ex-minister was detained after entering the country Tuesday.
Okruashvili's return is apparently related to the power shift in Georgia in October after an anti-Saakashvili coalition won the parliament election.