Court to examine Tuulberg's evidence in Savisaar corruption case

  • 2019-09-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Hearings in the trial of businesspeople accused of bribing former mayor of Tallinn and ex-chairman of the Center Party Edgar Savisaar are set to continue on Tuesday as the Tallinn-based Harju County Court is to examine evidence presented by the defense lawyer of businessman Aivar Tuulberg.

In August, the court heard testimony by businessman Alexander Kofkin, who said that he has not been active in the management of his businesses for a long time and has never influenced Savisaar to make decisions in favor of his businesses. Kofkin also stressed that he has never offered a bribe to Savisaar or Savisaar's acquaintances. 

Vello Kunman, another businessman accused of offering a bribe to former mayor of Tallinn and ex-chairman of the Center Party Edgar Savisaar, testified at the court's previous sitting on Aug. 13, denying his acquaintance with Savisaar as well as offering him money.

On June 18, businessman Hillar Teder admitted in Harju County Court that he covertly financed the Center Party in 2014, and was released from trial on the grounds of expediency. The court acceded to an application by the prosecutor's office, terminated proceedings against Teder on the grounds of expediency, and ordered Teder to make a penalty payment of 200,000 euros to the state.

Also on June 18, the court separated the materials of the criminal case of the Center Party from the so-called Savisaar criminal case into separate proceedings as the Center Party wished to enter into a compromise procedure with the Office of the Prosecutor General.

At the end of December last year, Savisaar was freed from trial on corruption charges due to his bad health.

The Office of the Prosecutor General brought charges against Savisaar for accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement on a large scale, and accepting prohibited donation for the Center Party.

The Center Party, which is on trial as a legal person, agreed to a penal agreement established with the Office of the Prosecutor General and must pay the state 25,000 euros and the rest of the punishment, that is 250,000 euros, will be left to the Center Party if the party does not commit another crime over a probationary period of one year and six months.

Kalev Kallo, former chairman of the Tallinn city council, is accused of aiding the giving and accepting of a bribe. Former politician Villu Reiljan was accused of arranging a bribe for Savisaar.

Former City of Tallinn official Priit Kutser was also on trial for aiding embezzlement, but proceedings were concluded for reasons of expediency.

The hearing of the so-called Savisaar corruption case began in Harju County Court on June 12, 2107 when the defendants said that they understand the charges but do not plead guilty.

Villu Reiljan, former minister of environment, pleaded guilty and the court decided to separate the charges related to him from the bigger case to carry out a compromise procedure, as a result of which Reiljan was to pay the state slightly over 33,000 euros.