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Last Updated: Friday, 20 February, 2004, 13:13 GMT
Shevardnadze son-in-law arrested
Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze
Mr Shevardnadze has been promised immunity
Police in Georgia have arrested the son-in-law of former President Eduard Shevardnadze on tax evasion charges.

Gia Jokhtaberidze, head of Georgia's biggest mobile phone company, was arrested on board a flight to Paris.

Prosecutor General Irakly Okruashvili, who personally oversaw the arrest, said Mr Jokhtaberidze had defied a warning not to leave the country pending the outcome of an investigation.

"No-one knew whether he would return to Georgia," he told a local TV station.

But a senior employee at Mr Jokhtaberidze's company, Magti, said he was on a business trip.

Campaign

Georgia's new president, Mikhail Saakashvili, has launched a campaign against corruption after his landslide victory in last month's elections.

"Don't take bribes and don't give jobs to your relatives," was Mr Saakashvili's first advice to his new team.

Mr Shevardnadze, whom Mr Saakashvili helped topple with a wave of protests, was promised immunity from prosecution in return for his resignation.

Natalia Antelava in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, says Shevardnadze-era officials are arrested almost daily - including some former high-ranking ministers.

The arrest of the former president's son-in-law shows that the authorities are determined to take their campaign to the highest levels, she says.


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