Photo: – March 2017

In a report detailing the ongoing investigation into the poisoning scandal that has rocked the Orthodox nation of Georgia, the Prosecutor’s Office has alleged that Archpriest George Mamaladze attempted to take cyanide to Berlin where the beloved Patriarch Ilia II was undergoing gallbladder surgery, reports Radio Liberty. However, the target was not, as previously thought, the primate himself, but his personal secretary Shorena Tetruashvili.

Fr. Mamaladze was arrested on February 10 at Tbilisi International Airport with cyanide found in his luggage. Meanwhile, the patriarch successfully underwent surgery on February 13. The report alleges that the priest hoped to gain greater influence in the patriarchate after the secretary was out of the way.

Irakli Mamaladze says he was contacted by Fr. George to help him obtain potassium cyanide, in exchange for some kind of work position. He notified the police after being contacted by the priest, and made a recording of their meetings. “Audio and video recordings confirmed that George Mamaladze intended to buy cyanide and use it against a human being,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

However, Fr. George was reportedly in a hurry and eventually found another source for the poison.

The prosecutor says Fr. Mamaladze failed to offer reliable answers to important questions, even contradicting the evidence at times. Meanwhile, the priest’s lawyer, George Pantsulaia, says the case has simply been fabricated, and that the Prosecutor’s Office has no evidence that his client bought any cyanide, and no idea of who the seller would have been.

Fr. George Mamaladze would face between seven and fifteen years of jail time if convicted.