Supreme Court Rules Against Land Swap Defendants, MP Among Those Convicted ({{commentsTotal}})

The defendants in a long-running case where politicians allowed businessmen to trade lower-value state land for plum countryside properties in exchange for bribes was heard in the Supreme Court Monday, which upheld the convictions.

Ester Tuiksoo is the only current politician affected. The Center Party MP and former minister of agriculture was given a three-month suspended sentence with six months of probation. The sentence was lightened because of the length of the proceedings, which started last decade. Because of the criminal conviction, she will have to resign as MP, however.

Villu Reiljan, a former minister of the environment, was also found guilty, and drew the longest cumulative sentence - nearly six years. All of the sentences meted out Monday were suspended and offset by time served in pretrial investigations.

The two ex-ministers, along with businessman Toomas Annus, ex-director of the Land Board, and businessmen Kalev Kangur, Tarmo Pedjasaar, Einar Vettus and Tullio Liblik, had appealed a circuit court conviction to the high court.