Authorities in Georgia have arrested former Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili and former Health Minister Zurab Chiaberashvili. Georgian prosecutor Shota Tkeshelashvili told journalists in the western city of Kutaisi that the two have been charged with embezzling public funds. Tkeshelashvili said Merabishvili, Chiaberashvili, and "other individuals" had planned and enacted "illicit actions in order to buy off voters in favor of the United National Movement in the parliamentary elections of October 1, 2012, as well as to sponsor covertly the aforementioned party with state funds." Both Merabishvili and Chiaberashvili are close associates of President Mikheil Saakashvili. Reacting to the news, Saakashvili compared the two arrests to the jailing in Ukraine of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.