The 'Jacket case' - what Mikheil Saakashvili said during the trial on embezzlement of state funds
The ‘jacket case’ against Mikheil Saakashvili
On December 2, Mikheil Saakashvili appeared in court for the second time. This time, the Tbilisi City Court considered the so-called “jacket case” – embezzlement of state funds.
The prosecutor’s office accuses the third president of Georgia of embezzling 8,837,461 GEL in state funds for personal purposes while in office, to which Saakashvili pleaded not guilty.
Teimuraz Janashia, former head of Special State Protection Service of Georgia, is accused in this case together with Mikheil Saakashvili. Janashia also called the case absurd and said that Saakashvili was being tried for exercising presidential powers and for representation expenses.
Allegations of corruption
In his address at the courtroom, Mikheil Saakashvili said he was being accused of corruption adding that he could not stand for it.
According to Saakashvili, the World Bank even dedicated a book to Georgia’s fight against corruption during his presidency.
“It was the only time the World Bank had published a book on tackling corruption in the country. Only one country managed to do that and that was Georgia, they published a book about it”, Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili stated that he is ready to answer the court’s questions and prove his innocence, but only if the country’s judiciary changes and becomes independent and fair.
Distrust towards the court
Saakashvili refers to himself as a hostage:
“Isn’t it better to ask for my release first? I came back and fell directly into the wolf’s mouth. I am ready to appear before the [new] court and let it judge me, be it in a one, two, or three years time”, Saakashvili said.
According to him, “the only function of today’s ‘ugly’ system is not to let him get out of prison alive”.
“I am not asking for gratitude for returning [stable] electricity, for the fact that some Ministry of Justice and Persecutor General Office employees no longer have to pay $15,000 to study law. Some of them probably received my scholarship, including one of the accomplices in my assassination plot, the so-called Minister of Justice. I do not ask for gratitude for the fact that salaries and pensions have increased, job placements doubled. Not even for the 200 new clinics, where, unfortunately, doctors are facing very difficult conditions today. What I can not accept is injustice”, Saakashvili said.
Rumors about botox injections
The ex-president also responded to media reports about expensive cosmetic procedures that he allegedly received at foreign clinics.
“As for the infamous botox, it is an absolute lie. Contact all the clinics you are talking about, and ask them whether it was a cosmetic procedure or a treatment for a stress-induced skin disease I have been suffering from since 2008. You can also see what my face looked like in the pictures taken after 2008, it had to be connected to a device of some kind, etc”.
According to Saakashvili, most of the expenses he is accused of belong to the former First Lady of Georgia, his ex-wife Sandra Roelofs.
“Sandras is responsible for a quarter or a fifth of these expenses”, Mikheil Saakashvili said at the court hearing.
He asked why Sandra Roelofs was not involved in the case, and then reminded the court of the investments and grants that, according to Saakashvili, were given to the country on the merits of the former First Lady.
“Why is Sandra not being tried? A large part of the expenses is Sandra’s. I would gladly be tried with her because a quarter or fifth of those expenses are Sandra’s.
But before you accuse Sandra, remember that Sandra brought € 100 million in medical grants to this country. Because of Sandra, 4 times fewer Georgian women die of breast cancer than before. Every prison doctor will tell you how much Sandra has done to ensure better quality medical care in prisons.
Is Sandra not corrupt? When together we went to the General Assembly session in New York she requited an urgent surgery, it was quite expensive. Why is Sandra not being tried?”, he added