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Businessman from Turkey received an eight-year sentence for possessing and buying illegal drugs


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    Batumi City Court in Georgia’s west on Monday found Galip Öztürk, a Turkish businessman who owns tourist facilities in the coastal Adjara region, guilty of illegal purchase and possession of drugs and psychotropic substances, and sentenced him to eight years in prison. 

    The ruling follows the businessman's arrest in Batumi in May 2022 and charges filed against him for illegal purchase and possession of “particularly large amounts” of drugs. 

    After filing charges against Öztürk - the Chair of Metro Holding that owns hotels Euphoria and Intourist, as well as Metro Sky Tower and other large infrastructure in the city -  the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office said in June police had seized about seven grams of cocaine following a search of his flat. 

    The businessman has also been subject of an outstanding court warrant for tax evasion, forgery, “use of false settlement documents” and money laundering, the body added. 

    Condemning the ruling as “unfounded and appalling”, Öztürk’s legal team said they would appeal the judgement initially to Kutaisi Court of Appeals in the western city, before possibly addressing the European Court of Human Rights, in contrast to the assessment of the verdict as “fair” by the prosecution. 

    The businessman himself, who was involved in the trial hearing via a video link, also denied the crimes. 

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