Georgian ex-PM detained on abuse of office charges

AP News
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Posted: May 21, 2013 9:05 AM

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Prosecutors in Georgia say that the country's former prime minister has been detained and charged with abuse of office and misappropriation of property.

Vano Merabishvili was detained Tuesday after being questioned at the prosecutors' office in western Georgia.

Merabishvili served as prime minister under outgoing President Mikhail Saakashvili and is still the chairman of his party.

Prosecutors say that Merabishvili took on the payroll in the labor ministry more than a thousand party activists whose only job was to canvass for Saakashvili's party.

They also allege that Merabishvili illegally obtained an upscale property on Georgia's Black Sea coast.

A Georgian court has 48 hours to decide whether to arrest Merabishvili or release him on bail. He faces up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.