2017-02-13 15:55:00

High-ranking clergyman arrested in Tbilisi on attempted murder charge

Tbilisi, February 13, Interfax - Georgia's Prosecutor General Irakly Shotadze confirmed that Father Giorgi Mamaladze, head of the Georgian Patriarchate's property management department, was detained at Tbilisi international airport last Friday.

"Deacon Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested on February 10 on the charge of attempted murder. He was arrested based on the information the prosecutor's office received from an individual who claimed that Giorgi Mamaladze had asked him, in return for a substantial reward, to acquire the poisonous substance cyanide for elimination of a high-ranking priest," Shotadze said.

The information led to the launch of an inquiry, he said.

"It transpired that Mamaladze was going to travel to Germany where Patriarch Ilia II is currently being treated. Upon his arrest at the airport, a search of his luggage revealed a cache with the poisonous substance cyanide. A search of his apartment led to the discovery of a firearm and cartridges," the prosecutor said.

Mamaladze was placed in preliminary detention, he said.

The inquiry continues, more details will follow, he said.

Shotadze declined to answer whether Mamaladze had been planning to poison Patriarch Ilia II.

"At the briefing, I was not talking about an attempt to poison the patriarch. I was talking about the information, the evidence and accusations that we have. At this stage, many inquiries have been carried out. It is inappropriate to talk about the specific person right now for legal reasons. We are aware of this specific person who was the target of the poisoning plot," Shotadze told journalists.

Investigators have some audio and video evidence, but its release is also unreasonable at this stage, he said.