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Georgia's chief prosecutor quits after criminal record allegation

Source: Reuters - Mon, 30 Dec 2013 09:52 PM
Author: Reuters
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TBILISI, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Georgia's chief prosecutor resigned on Monday, a week after an allegation that he has a criminal record and less than six weeks after taking office.

Otar Partskhaladze is a member of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. The West has criticised the government for arresting political rivals and Europe is trying to prevent it from prosecuting former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Last week the mayor Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, a close ally of Saakashvili, said Partskhaladze had been convicted of robbery in Germany in 2001. Partskhaladze says he was convicted only of "verbal altercation" with a policeman.

"Because of questions that have arisen over my biography, I feel obligated to respect and to take into consideration public opinion and to leave the post of chief prosecutor," he said in a written statement.

Senior Georgian Dream officials and government ministers said that allegations against Partskhaladze were aimed at undermining efforts to investigate a number of high-profile criminal cases against former officials.

His resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili, who said that it was "a dignified step".

Ugulava was suspended from office on Dec. 22 after being charged with corruption. He denies the charges. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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