TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava is charged with money laundering and embezzlement of public money.
Ugulava is a close ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili and in 2010 became the first elected mayor of the capital.
Natia Sukhiashvili, spokesperson for the Investigative Service of the Finance Ministry said Thursday that the charges concern two separate episodes.
“The first episode reveals an illegal scheme involving former government officials to appropriate TV company Imedi, and one of the main participants in implementing this scheme was Gigi Ugulava, which is confirmed,” she said.
Another episode concerns illegal financing of the Saakashvili’s party, United National Movement, and the mayor is thought to be organizer of this action.
Ugulava is called to come to the investigative service tomorrow at 14:00 to be officially charged.
He was appointed mayor of Tbilisi in 2006, and later sucessfully ran in the first election for the post. In earlier years of Saakashvili’s government he was deputy justice minister, deputy security minister and head of the president’s administration.
Since Ugulava is an elected official he enjoys a certain immunity and has the right not to not appear at the investigative service tomorrow if he so chooses.