Kallas Questioned in VEB Investigation ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: ERR

European Commissioner Siim Kallas was questioned by Parliament's investigative committee on the VEB Fund today.

The former governor of the Bank of Estonia reiterated previous statements, denying knowledge of, or involvement with, a purportedly falsified letter related to the VEB Fund dating back to 1995. Kallas said he left the Bank of Estonia shortly before the letter was signed by the bank's new governor.

"I was concerned that with this whole discussion there is a wish to somehow cast suspicion on the solution to the 1993 banking crisis. Another issue is whether this whole discussion creates a new basis for certain individuals who have carried out nine court cases and tried in one way or another to create a situation where the Republic of Estonia would nevertheless have to pay something for the certificates," Kallas said.

The head of the parliamentary committee, MP Rainer Vakra, revealed recent findings.

"Firstly, Vahur Kraft has confirmed that he signed the letter with false information. Secondly, [we have learned] the claims initially owned by the government were acquired by TSL International, which realized them in the Vnesheconombank. Thirdly, assertions in the falsified letter about fulfilling TSL International's claims was a planned activity," Vakra said.

The MP added that he was still concerned about the fact that when the letter was signed on April 5, 1995, TSL International's balance was zero, whereas three years later it had somehow managed to buy 32 million dollars worth of claims that were later cashed in.

The committee plans to conclude the investigation in April, after the National Audit Office presents its own findings.