|Georgia rejects opposition tycoon's naturalisation|
|April 04, 2012|
Georgia on Wednesday turned down a tycoon's request to reinstate via naturalisation his Georgian citizenship, which had been revoked after he voiced plans to form a major new opposition party.
One of Georgia's richest men, Bidzina Ivanishvili, a French national, asked for his Georgian passport be reinstated through naturalisation, but Georgia's Justice Ministry said he could only seek dual citizenship.
"A foreign national cannot obtain Georgian citizenship through naturalisation," Georgia's Justice Ministry said in a statement.
"Being a foreign national, Mr. Ivanishvili can seek Georgian citizenship through the dual-citizenship process," it said.
The billionaire announced plans in October 2011 to form an opposition party to battle President Mikheil Saakashvili's governing team in October's parliamentary elections.
His passport was officially revoked when it was discovered he had taken French citizenship.
Last month, a bank owned by Ivanishvili was fined nearly $500,000 (380,000 euros) over an alleged scheme to illegally fund his campaign group.
Saakashvili's allies have accused the businessman, who made his fortune in Russia, of being a stooge for Georgia's enemies in Moscow, which fought a brief war with Tbilisi in 2008.
The tycoon denies this and says the authorities are targeting him for mounting his political challenge.
© AFP 2011. All rights reserved.
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