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Georgian tycoon turned opposition leader fined

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) – A court in the Georgian capital has ordered a billionaire businessman who formed an opposition party to pay $91 million in fines in a ruling that the tycoon’s lawyers called political.

The Tbilisi City Court ruled late Monday that Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s richest man and leading philanthropist, violated the law by handing out free satellite dishes and offering a fleet of cars owned by his companies to his Georgian Dreams political party.

Ivanishvili’s lawyer Eka Beselia said the court’s decision was politically motivated.

Ivanishvili made his entry into politics in October, announcing that he was forming a political party with the aim of winning the parliamentary vote set for the fall and assuming the post of prime minister in a challenge to President Mikhail Saakashvili.

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