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Media tycoon charged in coup plot against Georgian Republic found dead in UK

[JURIST] A media and financial tycoon who was recently charged with a conspiracy to overthrow the government of the Georgian Republic [JURIST news archive] was found dead in his mansion near London Wednesday. A spokesman for Badri Patarkatsishvili [Reuters profile] said that Patarkatsishvili was believed to have died of heart failure, but police are treating his death as suspicious. In December 2007, Patarkatsishvili told AP he had obtained a tape recording of a Georgian Interior Ministry official discussing a plot to murder him. Patarkatsishvili publicly demanded that the alleged assassination plot be investigated but did not contact police about a specific threat. AP has more.

In January, prosecutors charged Patarkatsishvili with plotting a coup [JURIST report] for allegedly offering a $100 million bribe to a senior police official if he would help him overthrow the government and kidnap the Georgian interior minister. Patarkatsishvili, who was in self-imposed exile in Britain and Israel, denied the charges. Patarkatsishvili was a political rival [VOA report] of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili [official website] in the January 5 elections in which Saakashvili won a landslide victory.

2/14/08 - British investigators said Thursday that preliminary tests indicate that Patarkatsishvili died of natural causes, but that they are waiting for toxicology results before making a final determination of what caused Patarkatsishvili's death. AP has more.

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