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Georgian opposition candidate, billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili will stay in London during
Georgian opposition candidate, billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili will stay in London during Saturday's presidential election, his election headquarters' spokesman said Friday.

Patarkatsishvili, 52, a media magnate believed to spark protests against former President Mikheil Saakashvili in November, said Thursday he would still run for president at the January 5 election despite his earlier announcement to pull out from the race.

Authorities in the ex-Soviet Caucasus state accused Patarkatsishvili of seeking to instigate a coup during street protests in Tbilisi in early November 2007, which were brutally broken up by riot police and eventually led to the U.S.-educated Saakashvili announcing snap polls.

But Patarkatsishvili, who lives in Britain, enjoys immunity as he has been registered as a presidential candidate. However, due to fears that he could be detained, the billionaire held his election campaign from outside of the country.

In late December last year Georgian prosecutors circulated tapes allegedly showing the businessman offering a $100 million bribe to a senior Interior Ministry official to "neutralize" the department during protests planned for the early presidential elections.

Patarkatsishvili, Georgia's richest man, has admitted attempting to bribe the official, but said he had only been trying to deter clashes between police and protestors after the elections, if Saakashvili's reelection bid was successful.


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