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Ugulava released

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, July 3
Tbilisi City Court has not satisfied the prosecutor`s office’s motion with regard to suspended Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava’s case on July 3, and released the former mayor without any conditions.

The Prosecutor’s Office had demanded 50, 000 Gel bail and confiscation of Ugulava’s passport and identity card.

Several days ago, additional criminal charges related to the alleged misspending of public funds were filed against Ugulava.

The Finance Ministry’s investigations service said on June 30 that when serving as mayor, Ugulava in 2009 and 2011 “illegally” gave preferential treatment to a car parking management firm in Tbilisi called City Park, in distribution of revenues received from fines, which, the investigations service said, resulted in the misspending of GEL 1,086,718 in budgetary funds. If new charges are approved, Ugulava will face 7- 11 years imprisonment.

A member of the UNM, Gigi Ugulava associated the current actions against him to the fears of the Georgian Dream regarding the run-off. Ugulava also named the second reason.

“I was planning give a speech at the Council of Europe Assembly to present all the materials about violations during the elections. This is the only body that monitored the elections and, therefore, they should have full information," the former mayor said.

UNM member Nino Kalandadze also links the developments to politics and claims that the situation will affect the election process in Georgia.

Responding to the speculations, coalition member Irakli Sesiashvili stated that the issue concerns criminal activities and stands far from political interference.

He stresses that he was not surprised with Ugulava’s summoning for interrogation, as well as the following activities from the law-enforcement structures, as according to him, the former mayor’s activities while he was mayor raised several questions.

Analist Gia Khukhashvili thinks that the criminal proceedings against the former mayor are in the interests of the UNM more than for the coalition during the election time.

“Ugulava’s summoning for interrogation just prior to the run-off was incorrect. The UNM will make a political PR through this fact and it will create a tense pre-election environment,” the analyst says.