Chief prosecutor, Otar Partskhaladze, has partly confirmed recently emerged allegations against him and said in a written statement on December 24 that he had to appear before the German court after having an “incident” with the police more than a decade ago.
Partskhaladze is facing a mounting scandal after Gigi Ugulava, who was suspended from Tbilisi mayoral office, said late on December 23 that the chief prosecutor has a criminal record, involving conviction in Germany for theft and burglary.
Initially prosecutor’s office responded to these allegations by saying in a written statement that it was an attempt to discredit the chief prosecutor. But the statement sidestepped to explicitly address a question whether the allegation was true or not, which further intensified calls to clarify the issue. A group of six non-governmental organization, among them some of the leading Georgian human rights and advocacy groups, said earlier on December 24 that the chief prosecutor should step down if confirmed that he was convicted for theft and burglary.
Late on Tuesday afternoon, chief prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze, who has not made any public appearance since taking this office on November 21, released a written statement saying that he was found guilty by the court in Germany for having a “verbal altercation” with a policeman and not for burglary and theft as claimed in allegations leveled against him by Gigi Ugulava. He claimed that he became involved in an incident with the police in Germany in 2000 after a police officer mistook him for a criminal suspect.
“I was indeed in Germany in 2000, where an incident occurred with the German police. A policeman, who had information about a crime committed by other person, as it turned out later, made a mistake and physically abused me and a conflict erupted in a public place. After a conversation with the representatives of law enforcement authorities, due to factual circumstances the court found me guilty of verbal altercation with a policeman.”
He also said that this “incident” did not result either in his deportation from Germany or in “any other coercive measure” against him, “which once again proves my innocence.”
“I would also like to stress that I have visited Germany for both business and personal purposes for multiple times since then and I have not had any problem while entering or leaving the country,” Partskhaladze’s written statement says.
In the statement he also said: “Recently intensified dirty political campaign against me has reached its peak. As it seems, intensified investigation of high profile cases by the chief prosecutor’s office has ‘upset’ our opponents and they started resorting to dirty tricks to compromise personally me. Frankly speaking, I do not deem it sensible to respond [to these allegations], because their motivation is quite obvious for the society. But I feel an obligation to make a statement about this issue only to satisfy high public interest, which has been misled.”
“I would also like to request my fellow citizens not to yield to dirty campaign against the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. I felt obliged to explain the situation to the citizens of Georgia and explain what happened in Germany in 2000. This explanation is meant for the public and not for those persons who are trying to discredit me and the Chief Prosecutor’s Office for the only purpose of concealing their own crimes,” reads the statement.