Charges against Ossinovsky sent to court

  • 2005-10-12
  • Baltic News Service
TALLINN - Prosecutors in the north circuit office have sent an indictment against transit businessman Oleg Ossinovsky and the Spacecom company to court.
Ossinovsky, chairman of Spacecom, is suspected of violating competition laws and regulations.

"According to the information gathered in the course of pretrial investigation, a representative of Spacecom attempted to conclude an agreement prejudicing competition with representatives of AS Eesti Raudtee [Estonian Railway] with the purpose of earning a bigger profit for AS Spacecom and driving competition out of the market," spokespeople for the prosecutor's office said.

For the specified crime, a legal person is punishable with a fine while the maximum punishment for a physical person is three years in prison.

Spacecom, a Russia-controlled rail cargo handler, is in the middle of a vicious battle with Estonian Railway, another privately owned cargo handler. Estonian Railway, however, owns the infrastructure that Spacecom uses.

The two have repeatedly slung accusations over the past months, with the last round concerning so-called commercial and non-commercial tariffs (see story on Page 7.)

Security police detained Ossinovsky on April 6 this year as he arrived from Moscow by plane. The transit businessman was detained in connection with a criminal investigation launched on Feb. 2 on the basis of a penal code article violation of open market competition.

Ossinovsky was released on the afternoon of April 8 as the prosecutor and other parties in charge of the investigation didn't consider his further detention necessary.

Media have earlier claimed that Ossinovsky's arrest was based on suspicions that he had concluded an agreement prejudicing free competition with Estonian Railway.

The latter rejected linking the businessman's arrest with the infrastructure-use agreement concluded between the two companies.

Prosecutor Laura Feldmanis told the Baltic News Service after Ossinovsky's release that security police would question representatives from Estonian Railway as witnesses in the criminal investigation.

Ossinovsky has on repeated occasions denied any wrongdoing and said his arrest was commercially and politically motivated. As he explained at the time, if prosecutors suspected him of entering into an anti-competition agreement, then they should have arrested his counterpart.