Wanted ex-defence minister Kezerashvili vows to appeal his five-year sentence in ECHR

Georgia’s former Defence Minister David Kezerashvili has been on the run since 2012.

Agenda.ge, 08 Sep 2021 - 11:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s former defence minister under the United National Movement (UNM) government David Kezerashvili, who holds a 51% stake in opposition-minded Formula TV, pledges he will appeal a recent verdict by the Georgian Supreme Court against him in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). 

The Georgian Supreme Court sentenced Kezerashvili to five years in prison in absentia yesterday for embezzling more than five million euros which should have been spent on a military exercise back in 2008, when Kezerashvili was in office. 

Kezerashvili, who has been on the run since 2012, claims that the ‘biased verdict’ aims to ‘frighten’ him and Formula TV, noting that the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Bidzina Ivanishvili and the party officials stand behind the judgement.

  • Kezerashvili served as the head of Georgia’s financial police between 2004 and 2006, while between 2006 and 2008 he held the post of defence minister. 
  • He was one of the first UNM officials who fled the country shortly after the 2012 parliamentary elections in which the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the United National Movement. 
  • Five separate proceedings were launched against him back in 2012, related to money laundering, embezzlement, corruption and abuse of authority. 
  • Interpol declared a search for Kezerashvili by red notice in 2014. However, it terminated the search the next year. 
  • The GD officials said that Interpol’s decision was connected with a changed methodology, while Kezerashvili’s lawyer stated that the case was believed to be politically motivated. 
  • Georgia has requested Kezerashvili’s extradition from France and the UK twice. However, the request was declined. 
  • Kezerashvili is described as one of the wealthiest former UNM officials.