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Georgian lawmaker sentenced in absentia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 25
Gela Mikadze, a member of the Georgian Parliament from the Alliance of Patriots, a party which has six lawmakers in the legislative body, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia by the United Arab Emirates Court for the alleged misappropriation of $17.2 million.

According to Business Gulf, the Ras Al Khaimah Criminal Court has sentenced the former CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), Khater Massaad, and two other former RAKIA executives, Gela Mikadze and Giorgi Janashia, to 15 years in jail over embezzlement charges.

Along with the imprisonment, Massaad, Gela Mikadze and Giorgi Janashia – who worked with RAKIA Georgia – were also fined $17.2m in absentia, according to the court ruling.

The court also ordered Gela Mikadze to repay $12.8m and Giorgi Janashia to repay $4.4m – the amount they were accused of embezzling – back to RAKIA.

The case concerned signing and later cancelling a joint venture agreement between the Poti Sea Port in Georgia (at the time 100 per cent owned by RAKIA) and a newly incorporated company named Raystar Trade LLP in 2010-2011.

The public prosecution claims the beneficiaries of Raystar were Mikadze and Janashia – a fact known only to Massaad in RAKIA.

Mikadze told the local media he learned of the charges laid against him and the sentence in absentia through media outlets.

He stated he knew nothing of any case involving him being discussed in the United Emirates, which he described as a violation of human rights.

Mikadze’s lawyer stressed if the foreign prosecution had genuine evidence against Mikadze they would sue in a Georgian court.