The General Prosecutor’s office reported on August 13 that a sort of lea bargain has been reached in the case of ex-President of the Georgian Football Federation Merab Zhordania. Zhordania was released after paying to the government an unspecified amount of money, which he allegedly misappropriated while serving as the president of the Tbilisi football club Dynamo. Zhordania has already been arrested once for tax evasion.
Deputy General Prosecutor Giorgi Janashia said after Merab Zhordania was arrested in April that the latter was suspected of misappropriating USD 1 million from Tbilisi Dynamo FC. But neither the General Prosecutor’s Office, nor Zhordania’s lawyer revealed the amount of money which the ex-President of the Football Federation paid.
This was Zhordania’s second arrest. He was arrested in December, 2003 for tax evasion, but was released in January, 2004 after paying USD 340,000.
The system of plea bargaining, where former officials suspected of corruption are released without trial after agreeing to pay money, has been widely used since Saakashvili’s government came to power in 2003.
The system was criticized by the Council of Europe and the Georgian authorities pledged to cease this practice.