Former Bank of Estonia Head Questioned, Analysis Rules Out Forgery in VEB Case ({{commentsTotal}})

Vahur Kraft Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

A new analysis challenges the validity of a Bank of Estonia audit in January that asserted a letter from 1995 concerning the VEB Fund affair was forged.

Parliament's special investigative committee on the VEB Fund today questioned former Bank of Estonia governor Vahur Kraft, currently head of Nordea Estonia. Kraft has commissioned an analysis from the international auditor Rödl & Partner, which said it cannot be conclusively ascertained that the letter was false because supplementary documents that might prove otherwise could be missing.

"In the case of missing original documentation, there always exists the possibility that the missing part of the documentation contains important details that are necessary for making the right conclusions," the analysis said.

It added: "Premeditation is ruled out considering that the government and the Bank of Estonia's decision to sell the claims came two years after the allegedly forged letter was compiled and the central bank's letter was not actually necessary for the realization of the claims according to the central bank's own audit."

Parliament files for extension

Meanwhile, Parliament's investigative committee announced today that it needs more time in light of new potential clues and in order to streamline dates with a parallel investigation by the National Audit Office.

Since the committee was launched last spring, MPs have so far held 19 meetings, questioned 26 individuals and commissioned a legal opinion from a University of Tartu financial law expert.

The committee says the interviews have yielded new information related to persons and documents that needs to be followed up.

The committee asked to push the original December 2 deadline to April 7, which should give it enough time to review the findings of another investigation by the National Audit Office, due in March.

The VEB Fund was established after the Soviet Union's international bank, the VEB, ceased activity with Estonian correspondent accounts in 1992. In order to rescue Estonian finances and banking, the Estonian Parliament created the VEB Fund, which held claims against the VEB.

According to an internal audit by the Bank of Estonia, a letter from 1995 authorized the sale of claims worth 32.3 million dollars to TSL International, a Russian firm, which unlike Estonian firms, was permitted to retrieve claims from the VEB.

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