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Georgia’s Ivanishvili Sees Citizenship Restored Before Deadline

Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who’s challenging the rule of President Mikheil Saakashvili, may regain the citizenship he lost in October before an April 5 deadline to decide on his case, his lawyer Zakharia Kutsnashvili said.

“We expect restoration of his citizenship sooner than in April as the conclusions from the relevant ministries should come through this month,” Kutsnashvili said today by phone from the capital, Tbilisi. “Ivanishvili’s political life has been terribly damaged by the five months of waiting.”

The Justice Ministry will decide on the case as soon as all the necessary documents have been examined, spokeswoman Khatuna Iosava said today by phone, without elaborating.

Ivanishvili, whose wealth Forbes magazine estimated in March 2011 at $5.5 billion, has created a political party to contest parliamentary elections in October. He renounced his Russian citizenship and said Dec. 29 that he’d also give up his French citizenship.

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