Seven years for Israeli convicted of bribery in Georgia

By Jennifer Lipman, April 1, 2011

An Israeli businessman has been sentenced to seven years behind bars in Georgia in a case which a top lawyer has called a breach of human rights legislation.

Rony Fuchs was convicted by a Georgian court and fined about £180,000 for allegedly attempting to bribe a Georgian minister over a breached agreement on the construction of an oil pipeline.

The case stems from a £62 million payout won by Mr Fuchs last March, which the Georgian government refused to comply with.

He was caught on camera last October talking about a deal on the money, but maintained that he was the victim of a sting operation arranged by the Georgian govrenment.

His Israeli business partner Ze'ev Frenkel was given a six and a half year sentence. Mr Fuch's lawyer has already pledged to fight the ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

In January British lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, who is involved in the case, warned that the charges against Mr Fuchs "should be regarded as an act of the utmost bad faith". He said the case was "wholly inconsistent with Georgia's obligations under the European Convention".

Last updated: 11:07am, April 1 2011