At a special briefing today, the Prosecutor’s Office announced that they arrested archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze on February 10, for planning to poison a high-ranking cleric with cyanide. The Prosecutor’s Office did not specify which cleric Mamaladze was targeting. There is public speculation that the target was Patriarch Ilia II. Archpriest Mamaladze manages the Patriarchate of Georgia’s properties. He denies all allegations.
Prosecutor General Irakli Shotadze stated at the special briefing that the Prosecutor’s Office has audio and video evidence, however they will not release the evidence or talk about the details “due to the sensitivity of the case.” The Patriarchate is an influential institution in Georgia and the Patriarch has the highest approval rating of any public figure.
The Prosecutor’s Office statement elaborates: “On February 10, 2017, we arrested Giorgi Mamaladze in Tbilisi International Airport, before his departure to Berlin, Germany. While searching his luggage, Natrium Cyanide was found. During a search of his house, hand-made guns and six cartridges were found.”
The Prosecutor’s Office says the investigation began on February 2, when an individual approached them with the information that he was asked by Archpriest Mamaladze to help him buy the poison. Mamaladze was scheduled to go to Berlin, where the Patriarch of Georgia Ilia ll went on February 2nd in order to undergo surgery on his gallbladder. The Prosecutor’s Office says Archpriest Mamaladze wanted to get the poison before his departure to Berlin.
The Prosecutor’s Office said that it is still actively working on investigating leads in the story.
The Patriarchate of Georgia did not release any information. The Patriarchate related to Tabula reporters that they are “very worried and depressed… There is nothing to like in this story. The Prosecutor's Office will have more information to share and we will know more. What we’ve heard so far is very depressing.”
Father Nikoloz, the Metropolitan of Akhalkalaki and Kumurdo, commented on the alleged plot to poison the Patriarch of Georgia, that: “There’s no man in Georgia who would have such an idea. Not even the Patriarch believes this, and neither do the bishops.”