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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shevardnadze: 'Moral Terror' to Blame for Official's Suicide

ReutersNugzar Sadjaya
TBILISI, Georgia -- The suicide of Georgia's top security official came amid charges of his involvement in undercover dealings, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Nugzar Sadjaya, Secretary of the National Security Council, was found in his office Monday with two bullet wounds to the head. He was taken to the hospital but later died on the operating table, the spokesman said.

Sadjaya, 60, was often referred to as a "gray cardinal" because of his closeness to President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Shevardnadze, who described Sadjaya as a loyal and honest person, called an urgent government meeting to discuss the situation. "This suicide was brought about by moral terror," he told reporters.

Sadjaya stood in the shadows throughout a 30-year career at Shevardnadze's side.

He was thrown into the spotlight last week when an opposition parliament deputy accused him of involvement in a series of high-profile assassinations.

Sadjaya called the allegations "moral terror" against him and asked prosecutors for a formal inquiry.

His reputation in traditionalist Georgia suffered a further blow when a former defense minister said Sadjaya was homosexual.

Sadjaya was a long-standing confidant of Georgia's veteran leader. He oversaw the work of the security council since its creation in 1995, and as a deputy to Shevardnadze, who chairs the security body, exerted influence over key government promotions.

He secured appointments for his proteges as heads of the Interior and National Security ministries after Shevardnadze shook up the Cabinet last November.