TBILISI, February 22 (Itar-Tass) – The mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, is facing charges of misappropriation of budget funds and money laundering in huge amounts, the investigation service of the Georgian Finance Ministry said in a statement released on Friday.
Ugulava is expected to appear in court on February 23 to hear the charges. Investigators did not clarify whether the mayor would be detained.
Ugulava is being charged on two separate episodes: the acquisition of the Imedi television company and the creation of dummy jobs for the activists of the then ruling United National Movement party in 2009-2009.
Investigators have disclosed a criminal scheme which the former authorities used to take over the Imedi television company in 2008. They have proven that Ugulava was one of the main participants in that scheme.
In addition to that, the mayor of Tbilisi is being accused of using budget funds to finance the activities of the then ruling United National Movement party by creating dummy jobs for party activists.
In the meantime, Gigi Ugulava has agreed to cooperate with investigators. However, he’s described the accusations against him as an attempt to exert pressure.
“The process which the investigation service of the Finance Ministry started today is directed at me personally with an aim to oust me from power and debar me from running Tbilisi,” the mayor told a briefing in the Georgian capital on Friday.