Former Tbilisi Mayor detained

Former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava was handcuffed., 03 Jul 2014 - 11:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

Tbilisi’s ousted Mayor Gigi Ugulava was detained early this morning as he attempted to board a plane bound for Kiev, Ukraine.

Ugulava, who is one leader of political party United National Movement (UNM), was with another UNM party leader when he was detained at Tbilisi International Aiport that dawn this morning.

As he was arrested, Ugulava told journalists at the airport that he was on his way to Kiev with Giga Bokeria and he planned to return to Tbilisi later this afternoon, as he had been summoned for questioning by the Finance Ministry’s investigative service on July 4.

Ugulava was handcuffed and escorted to a waiting police vehicle where he was transferred to the Interior Ministry’s detention facility, where he is currently.

No additional charges have been filed against Ugulava yet however it is expected the Finance Ministry’s investigative service will make a statement at midday today.

Ugulava is facing several criminal charges. The most recent charges were brought against Ugulava on June 30, which related to unlawfully spending state funds.

He was 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.

Yesterday, Tbilisi City Court decided not to grant preventative detention to Ugulava, who is also facing charges 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, however this was rejected by the court.

Ugulava is also facing charges in several unrelated matters, including 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.