Estonian PM asked to explain choice of law firm to look into alleged money laundering

  • 2020-07-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Opposition Reform Party MPs Andres Sutt and Maris Lauri have put a written question to Prime Minister Juri Ratas concerning the choice of the law office to provide legal assistance to the government on matters of alleged money laundering committed in Estonia. 

Sutt and Lauri, members of the Riigikogu finance committee, want the prime minister to explain the process of the selection of the US law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP to aid the Estonian government in matters concerning alleged money laundering, spokespeople for the Reform Party group said on Wednesday.

"We know that an agreement has been concluded with the law office on the provision of legal services to the Estonian state. It remains unclear, however, whether the recommendation to hire a legal adviser came from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice or some third party and what kind of legal assistance and in what case Estonia needs," Sutt was quoted as saying.

"Also a conflict of interest in the case of the law firm representing Estonia has been pointed out, as the law firm has represented, for instance, Prevezon Holding LTD, which is suspected of links to large money laundering schemes," the MP added.

"The signing of the agreement by the minister of finance ignoring all recommendations looked suspicious from the very start, yet now further details have been published in the media which definitely need to be explained to the public," Lauri, deputy chair of the finance committee, said.

The government has said that a proposal to file their offers concerning a potential contract was sent to three law firms.

The Reform Party MPs want to know why namely the law firms in question were chosen, how many of them responded to the invitation, how the law firms were checked for a potential conflict of interest, based on what the selected firm is paid for its work, and what is the maximum value of the contract inclusive of the fixed fee and performance fees.

The prime minister has ten business days to reply to the written interpellation.