TALLINN - The Riigikogu finance committee on Tuesday was briefed by Finance Minister Martin Helme about anti-money laundering (AML) activities; the minister also talked about the agreement concluded with the law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan.
"The law for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist finance adopted by the Riigikogu in June definitely plays an important role in anti-money laundering activities. At today's sitting the discussion focused on how the contract was signed with the law office which starts to represent Estonia's interests in international investigations related to money laundering," chairman of the finance committee Aivar Kokk said according to spokespeople for the Riigikogu.
"We learned from the minister that the law firm selected has given an assurance that it does not have a conflict of interest in representing Estonia. However, should it be revealed that it has, the continuation of cooperation will be in question," the Isamaa MP said.
The minister also informed the committee that even though Louis Freeh has abandoned the status of partner at the firm, he will continue his activity as a consultant also in the future.
"The minister of finance refuses to understand the problems that the process of finding a partner and concluding an agreement entails. He finds that this is a political topic and sees an opportunity to attack his political opponents, being unable to understand that with such actions he undermines the interests of the Estonian state," said opposition Reform Party MP Maris Lauri, deputy chair of the committee.
In addition, representatives of the Finance Ministry offered the committee an overview of the current state of play in the Estonian economy, tax intake, the state budget and the economic measures of the supplementary budget, as well as talked about the European Union's plan for restarting the economy and the union's long-term budget.