TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office lost its appeal about issuing bail conditions for Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava in a case about money laundering and embezzlement.
The Appeals Court refused to set a one million GEL (USD 600 000) bail for mayor and suspend him from office, which means that the decision in the city court stands; Ugulava will not be subject to any restrictions until his trial.
The Prosecutor’s Office also wanted to force him to report at investigative bodies once a week during the investigation, but this demand was also rejected.
Ugulava was appointed in 2006 and served for four years until he became the first elected mayor of Tbilisi in 2010. His term will end in 2014, when there are local elections in Georgia. He is a close personal ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili, and his prominence within the government was demonstrated in the war in 2008, when he took on an operational role as military commander.
Fearing his detention, Ugulava appointed trusted persons to the posts of vice mayor and first vice mayor, so that they could continue his duties if he is detained. As vice mayor he chose Vano Merabishvili, the former interior minister who is also a close ally of Saakashvili.