Search On for Patarkatsishvili in London

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgian officials are in London pursuing a multimillionaire who prosecutors have charged with plotting a coup, a source in Georgia's Interior Ministry said Friday.

Georgian prosecutors on Jan. 10 charged Badri Patarkatsishvili, one of President Mikheil Saakashvili's most powerful opponents and a rival in the Jan. 5 presidential election, with plotting a coup and attempting to organize a terrorist attack.

"Patarkatsishvili is charged with plotting a coup, attempting to give a bribe and so on, and he committed these crimes in London," the source said. "These actions are punishable in the United Kingdom as well."

Several Georgian investigators are working in London "with the Home Office, prosecutor's office and the courts" to arrest Patarkatsishvili, the source said.

Patarkatsishvili's public relations firm in London, where he is mainly based, refused comment Friday.

Britain's Home Office refused to comment on the issue at all.

"We cannot confirm or deny the existence of an extradition request or if we expect one," a spokeswoman said. There is an extradition treaty between Britain and Georgia.

Last month Georgian television broadcast a recording of a man who sounded like Patarkatsishvili offering an Interior Ministry official a $100 million bribe to stage a coup.