A chief executive and co-owner of a construction firm with close ties to Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava has been arrested in connection to ongoing investigation into alleged money laundering case.
Giorgi (Gegi) Kelbakiani, who is owner of 70% shares in the Tbilisi-based New Construction Company (NCC) and its chief executive officer, was arrested together with a financial manager of the same company Archil Chogovadze.
The construction firm has also been involved, among others, in ongoing Tbilisi municipality-backed construction projects, including in Tbilisi’s downtown Rike park.
The Interior Ministry said on November 21, that “with a purpose to embezzle large amount of state funds” Kelbakiani and Chogovadze transferred GEL 6.3 million (about USD 3.8 million) to unspecified third person, who returned back to the two arrested men GEL 3 million in cash as a kickback. The Interior Ministry did not provide other details.
The Interior Ministry said that charges in connection to “legalization of illegal income” would be filed against Kelbakiani and Chogovadze.
Kelbakiani’s lawyer said his client denied allegations as “absurd”.
Kelbakiani previously served as head of the water distribution company in the capital city, but as his lawyer said ongoing investigation was not related to that company.