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Georgian Billionaire Ivanishvili Appeals Citizenship Denial

Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has contested the Georgian Justice Ministry’s refusal to reinstate his citizenship, his spokeswoman Maya Panjikidze said.

Ivanishvili, a Rossiiskiy Kredit Bank board member whose wealth Forbes magazine estimates at $6.4 billion, was stripped of Georgian citizenship on Oct. 11. The ministry on April 4 denied Ivanishvili’s request to restore his citizenship via naturalization, a category reserved for stateless persons, because the billionaire holds a French passport.

The ministry said Ivanishvili, a critic of President Mikheil Saakashvili, could apply again using a different procedure for dual citizens. Panjikidze ruled out that option.

“Saakashvili took his citizenship away in the first place,” Panjikidze said by telephone in the capital Tbilisi today. “Addressing him again now would be illogical.”

On April 5, Ivanishvili said he wants to become Georgia’s next prime minister and will found a political party on April 21.

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