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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian gets eight years in Georgian prison for uranium sale

RIA Novosti

25/01/2007 14:41 TBILISI, January 25 (RIA Novosti) - A Georgian court sentenced a Russian citizen to eight years in prison for attempting to sell 100 grams of high-enriched uranium in the ex-Soviet republic, an Interior Ministry official said Thursday.

Shota Utiashvili, the head of the ministry's analytical department, said Oleg Khiltsagov, who was born in the Russian North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia, and three Georgian citizens were arrested in early 2006 and their trial was held last summer.

"We have deliberately not released any information, as the investigation was trying to identify other suspects involved in the case. Moreover, we wanted to determine where the uranium was stolen from," Utiashvili said, without specifying whether the investigation was successful.

He said Georgia was cooperating with Russian colleagues, and had sent them samples of the enriched uranium for verification and testing.

"We received the test results from Russian specialists," Utiashvili said. "They confirmed that the substance was high-enriched uranium, but did not say anything about its origin."

Utiashvili said that three Georgian citizens in the case were also convicted and sentenced to between four and six years in prison.

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