Georgia's former defense minister and ex-head of financial police, Davit Kezerashvili, received over USD 12.3 million in bribe for providing 'protection' to ethyl spirit smuggling scheme between 2007 and 2012, the Investigations Service at the Ministry of Finance said on January 30.
The Finance Ministry's agency in charge of probing into economic and financial crimes, said that as a result of this alleged scheme over 19.8 million liters of ethyl spirit was smuggled into Georgia from Ukraine in 2007-2012, which resulted in up to GEL 49.39 million loss for the state budget in unpaid taxes.
Kezerashvili, who was President Saakashvili's close associate, was chief of the financial police, which at the time was in charge of fighting economic crimes, from 2004 till late 2006 and then served as Defense Minister till December 2008 before going into business.
Finance Ministry's investigations service said that Kezerashvili continued providing 'protection' to smuggling scheme even after leaving the government as he maintained close links with the authorities.
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