The Supreme Court sentenced former mayor of Tbilisi and opposition leader of European Georgia Gigi Ugulava to 3 years, 2 months and 8 days to prison on February 10th for embezzlement of 48 million GEL of Tbilisi Development Funds. The former mayor has been imprisoned for the same case several years ago.
Supreme Court finds Gigi Ugulava guilty of money embezzlement, sentences 3 years in prison
By Liza Mchedlidze
Tuesday, February 11
The Supreme Court upheld the prosecution's charges according to which, the state prosecution alleged that Ugulava had embezzled funds from the Tbilisi Development Fund.
According to Gigi Ugulava’s lawyer Beka Basialia, the article that Supreme Court found former mayor guilty, was sentencing him to 9 years to prison, but amnesty applied to the article and considering that he had already served 1 year and 4 months in prison in the past, the court sentenced Ugulava to more than 3 years.
Ugulava was waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision in European Georgia’s office. After it was announced that he was going to be jailed for more than three years, he said goodbye to his daughter in front of cameras and is planning on saying goodbye to his friends and colleagues, heading to prison on his own.
Ugulava does not confess to the crime but he will accept the punishment. He is ready for the ‘unjust decision,’ saying that it did not come unexpectedly and that he has already packed everything:
“ I will be waiting for you, my friends, to come with your order. At the same time, I am ready and prefer to do it myself...I already have experience with this, the car is packed, every book is ready, It’s clear I knew it beforehand.”
“I do not confess to anything. I do not confess to the crime but I accept the punishment, because in Ivanishvili’s Georgia, prison is the place where you can find freedom, and I will find freedom,” said Gigi Ugulava.
The prosecution was demanding Ugulava to be charged for developing a ‘criminal scheme’ together with four others to fund United National Movement’s pre-electoral expenses for Parliamentary Elections in 2012.
After the Supreme Court’s decision was announced, the united opposition called off dialogue with Georgian Dream party regarding the changes in the electoral system, which the majority of Georgians and opposition parties have been demanding since June protests in 2019.
The court ruled on the case without an oral hearing and the judge was former chief prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze, who has been elected as a termless judge. Transparency International Georgia questioned the authenticity of his law degree, writing that the University Tadumadze graduated from was founded in 1994, while his official diploma reads he was enrolled in school in 1993.