TALLINN - The council of the Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn) has chosen Ain Kaljurand as the company's new chairman.
Council chairman Neinar Seli was quoted as saying the vote, which took place on Aug. 15, was unanimous. "It went very smoothly," he said, adding that only the best candidate could ensure a smooth vote.
The appointment of Kaljurand, who is currently acting chairman, comes after former CEO Mart Tooming, along with two other board members, unexpectedly quit after a government commission strongly criticized their handling of the port.
Kaljurand is to be formally endorsed in his new duties at the next meeting of the council of the Port of Tallinn, the state-owned company that owns Estonia's largest ports.
Kaljurand has one month to present the council with his vision of how the port would be managed.
It cannot be ruled out that someone from among Kaljurand's rivals in the CEO tender will be brought into the new management team, said Seli, refusing to give any names.
Meanwhile, Estonia's central criminal police have begun to investigate a land deal involving the port. The weekly Eesti Ekspress reported that some 20 million kroons (1.3 million euros) landed in an unidentified person's account after the deal.
Special cases prosecutor Laura Feldmanis told the paper the investigation is only in the initial phase. A tip about criminal activity came from the money laundering data office, whose attention was caught by the size of the sums involved.
According to reports, the Port of Tallinn bought 18 hectares of land in the Joelahtme municipality, which is near Tallinn, in the summer of 2003 and paid 46 million kroons for it through Heta, a law firm.
The money went into the bank account of the Spiga Grupp company headed by the businessman Tonis Sakkeus, Eesti Ekspress wrote.
Heta represented the land's owner, Muuga Terminal, a joint-stock company that was set up for the one deal.
The shares in Muuga Terminal were resold several times, until in December 2001 the company Steel Capital became owner. The price of that deal was zero kroon, though Steel Capital acquired 15 million kroons' worth of seaside property in Muuga port, the paper reported.
In the next two years there were no new developments, until the land business with the Port of Tallinn started again. Steel Capital first sold its holding in Muuga Terminal to the offshore company Welwyn, then the firm was sold for 20 million kroons to Freim Grupp after which the shares passed for 40,000 kroons to Raido Parn, a front.
The central criminal police will try to find out where the 20 million kroons ended up, the paper wrote.