Europe

Georgia rocked by sex tape scandal

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Georgia's authorities have arrested two people in connection with a sex tape scandal that has rocked the country.

The two men - a former interior ministry official and a lawyer - are suspected of illegally spreading footage of senior politicians engaged in various sex acts.

Threats have been made to release more videos, just months before parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic.

Both suspects deny all the allegations.

The two men have been identified as former interior ministry official Zurab Jamalashvili and lawyer Irakli Pkhaladze.

Their detention comes after a video posted on YouTube last week appears to show a female politician from the opposition Free Democrats party having sex with a man who is not her husband.

A second tape later emerged threatening to leak footage of two politicians from the ruling coalition, another opposition politician and a journalist.

The anonymous sender warned the tapes would be published unless all four resigned by 31 March.

In all, Georgian prosecutors say they have now launched criminal cases against five individuals, including the two men arrested.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has condemned the sex tapes, saying the "entire government system... is mobilised... and the crime will soon be solved".

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the scandal was a "blackmail of the entire society".

Georgia's parliamentary elections are scheduled for October.

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