Leader of European Georgia opposition party and ex-Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava has been sentenced to three years and two months in prison by Georgian Supreme Court for the embezzlement of 48 million GEL from Tbilisi Municipal Development fund while in office.
In February 2018 the Tbilisi Court of Appeals also sentenced Ugulava to one year and three months to prison in the case. However, the sentence was absorbed by another sentence Ugulava faced.
Ugulava and the opposition say it is ‘political persecution,’ adding that the ruling party has ‘crossed the red line.’
The ruling party officials say that ‘everyone is equal before law,’ excluding any political ground.
- Several charges, mostly related to abuse of authority and embezzlement of state funds, were brought against Ugulava in 2013 and he was sentenced to several – month pretrial detention in 2014 by Tbilisi City Court.
- In 2015, he was found guilty and sentenced to nine years in prison. This prison term was commuted to four years and six months.
- Ugulava left prison in 2017.
- Shortly after the release, the party Ugulava belonged to, the United National Movement announced its split, with Ugulava and several former leaders of the UNM creating the European Georgia party.
- Ugulava served as Tbilisi mayor between 2005 and 2013.