Court rejects preventative detention for Tbilisi’s former Mayor

The Prosecutor’s Office plans to appeal the court verdict. Photo by info9, 02 Jul 2014 - 16:11, Tbilisi,Georgia

Former Tbilisi Mayor and United National Movement (UNM) party leader Gigi Ugulava will not be held in preventative detention, a Tbilisi court ruled today.

After a three hour hearing, Judge Arsen Kalatozishvili decided not to grant preventative detention to Ugulava, who has been charged with embezzling more than a million GEL from the state budget.

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office asked the Tbilisi City Court to impose a bail bond of 50,000 GEL and for Ugulava to surrender his passport and identification card, with the aim of preventing him from travelling abroad.

Ugulava has been charged for signing an agreement on behalf of the Government with ‘City Park’, a car parking management firm in Tbilisi in December 2007. It is alleged he squandered 1,086,718 GEL state funds in favour of ‘City Park’, which saw the company gain additional advantages.

Earlier yesterday, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office claimed it had "received information” that Ugulava was planning to travel abroad and "was not intending to return back to Georgia”.

Ugulava is already facing charges in several unrelated matters, including for alienating TV Imedi in 2008 and Rike, exclusive territory on the Mtkvari riverbank in Old Tbilisi. He is also charged with misspending more than 70 million GEL from the Tbilisi Developing Fund, which was established in 2010 for the capital city’s rehabilitation.

After today’s Court hearing, Ugulava said he still planned a working visit to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, to participate in a Congress of Local and Regional Authorities monitoring committee meeting scheduled for July 3.

"If I manage to buy a flight ticket to Chisinau I will go,” Ugulava said.

"I have been charged in many cases but today I am offended for the first time when these people allege I do not intend to return to Georgia,” Ugulava said.

"I will not make the government happy by fleeing [the country]. I would rather die than flee the country.”

He also added he had additional future plans that included "working visits” to London, then Kiev where he will meet the Mayor of the Ukrainian capital city Vitali Klitschko and then to Chisinau.

The Prosecutor’s Office plans to appeal the court verdict.