Billionaire Once Jailed By Putin Tapped To Represent Jewish Ex-Soviet Communities
(JTA) — Eight years after his release from wrongful imprisonment in Russia, the Israeli billionaire Mikhael Mirilashvili was elected to lead the World Jewish Congress Euro-Asian affiliate, representing communities from Ukraine to Singapore.
Mirilashvili, who had spent eight years in a Russian prison until 2009 on trumped up charges connected to his father’s abduction, was voted president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Monday, the organization said, replacing the Austrian baking magnate Julius Meinl.
Mirilashvili, a 57-year-old physician turned industrialist who was born in the Caucasian republic of Georgia, presented a relatively conservative agenda in his acceptance speech delivered in Ramat Gan during the general assembly meeting of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.
“We need to strengthen the connection of the Diaspora with Israel and help to reduce assimilation, educating the younger generation, based on the values and traditions of the Jewish people,” said Mirilashvili.