Israel and Georgia found themselves in a diplomatic pickle on Monday, after Georgia filed an official request to Israel, asking to appoint Georgian-born billionaire Mikhael Mirilashvili to the honorary position of Georgian consul to Israel.
The problem lies in the fact that to approve him for the position, Mirilashvili needs to receive a police certificate of a non criminal record; since he was recently investigated by the police over suspected large donation he made to an organization headed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s wife Yaffa, the police not give him such a certificate, effectively blocking the nomination for him.
Mirilashvili is also involved in another investigation, under suspicion that he and Min. Deri influenced the election of the head rabbi of Lod. In both cases, Mirilashvili was investigated together with his son, Yitzhak .
The elder and younger Mirilashvilis are the controlling shareholders of Channel 20. The Foreign Ministry responded to Georgia’s request to appoint Mirilashvili to be its consul by saying that the police is still looking into the matter, as only someone with a spotless record is allowed to receive such an honor from a foreign country.
Mikhael Mirilashvili was born in 1960 in Kulashi, Georgia. He immigrated to Israel in 1995 and has lived intermittently in Herzliya and St. Petersburg. Mirilashvili was certified as a pediatrician in the Soviet Union, but after receiving his license, which occurred at the same time as the fall of the Communist regime, he switched to business.
Min. Deri is due to be interrogated again on Monday, after being interrogated for 11 hours last Monday.
The police are looking into suspicions that he transferred hundreds of thousands of shekels from government funds to members of his own family. His wife, Yaffa, is also due to be investigated again.