Kross: Unusual Move for a Security Agency ({{commentsTotal}})

Eerik-Niiles Kross
Eerik-Niiles Kross Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

IRL politician Eerik-Niiles Kross, who is a former diplomat and intelligence official, said accusing its own employees publicly of corruption is an unusual step for a security organization.

The Information Board said on Thursday that at least two of its employees, naming them as Sergei Bõstrov and Pavel Kotkin, are accused of embezzlement and revealing state secrets.

He told Äripäev that even in democratic states, similar situations are usually dealt with confidentially, adding that Estonia has published all corruption and treason cases publicly whenever possible.

“I think this approach is the correct one and even if it initially creates concern over the security of the state, it will strengthen our state democracy, if it is learned from,” Kross said, adding that the current case shows crimes like these are not part of the system but one-off events.

Kross said, having worked in the field, knows of the two men.

Eesti Ekspress reported today that Kotkin, then a lawyer for the ISS, sat for an legal exam for the director of ISS's Viru County branch, who was completing a degree in law at the University of Tartu. Kotkin and the director, Peeter Oissar, both left the ISS shortly after being caught.

Daily Õhtuleht connected Bõstrov in 1999 to a special operational unit in the ranks of the Information Board, which was tasked with escorting Estonian operatives out of foreign countries and during war, and would help high-level politicians leave the nation. The daily said Bõstrov also had a hand in a now-disbanded special operations unit under the Defense Forces.

Bõstrov was believed to be a confidant of the then Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Johannes Kert.