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Fuchs and Frankiel to drain Tbilisi dry2011-08-24 12:20
Georgia continues marring its own investment image. Having put Israeli businessmen Rony Fuchs and Ze'ev Frankiel to prison under a far-fetched pretext, Saakashvili is not going to let them out. The Court of Appeal of the republic fully controlled by government has considered the case at the end of last week and upheld the sentence, which may create problems for the whole Georgia: the Israeli's attorneys are intended to appeal to Strasbourg Human Rights Court.
Why inviting investors in the country and putting them in prison afterwards? The question seems to be rhetoric if applied to the current situation in Georgia. Even judges can hardly say why Rony Fuchs and Ze'ev Frankiel have been put to prison. Formally, they were arrested last autumn during a meeting with head of the Ministry of Finance Avtandil Kharaidze "at an attempted seven-million-dollar bribe in exchange for giving up attempts to appeal against the international arbitration court's decision". Later, the city court of Tbilisi admitted Fuchs and Frankiel guilty without hesitation and sentenced the former to 7 years and the latter to 6,5 years of imprisonment. Besides, both of them are to pay fines.
Frankiel owns Nirrnetco company, which was engaged in various business projects. Fuchs possesses another company, Tramex. In 1991, the company obtained a license for oil and gas transportation monopolistic control in the republic. However, as soon as the Georgian State Oil Transportation and Refining Corporation was founded, Sakartvelo authorities decided to organize their own business and withdrew the license of Fuch's company. The Israeli appealed to the international arbitration court and won the case. The verdict went as follows: the court admitted license withdrawal illegal and obliged Sakartvelo authorities to pay 100 million dollars in favour of the Israeli. There was little chance to alter the sentence after the Georgian protest and now our heroes who had come to the republic to settle their business are behind the bars.
Official Tel-Aviv is sure that Sakartvelo authorities are simply framing up Fuchs and Frankiel's case. As was reported by Izrus, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have already stated their claims to the Georgian party.
The Georgian Court of Appeal that upheld the sentence finds nothing suspicious in the case. "In the course of the hearings, the court found no grounds to cancel or reconsider the decision of the city court of Tbilisi that found Mr. Fuchs and Mr. Frankiel guilty of an attempted bribe to a high-ranking official", - the Court of Appeal stated.