Väino Pentus, the father of Estonian Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, and Siim Roode, a former lawyer of Pentus-Rosimannus and her husband Rain Rosimannus, are accused of causing an insolvency of Autorollo, the Pentus's now defunct trucking company, and embezzlement.
Apart from bankrupting the company, the defendants are also accused of using fake documents and violating the bookkeeping standards.
The Autorollo scandal, as it is known in Estonia, first caught the public eye in 2012. The public attention in this case came from the fact that before the bankruptcy, Autorollo was drained of money over a short period from 2010-2011. A large amount of money was withdrawn from the firm's account and some of the bank transfers were made from the personal IP addresses of Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, Estonia's foreign minister since last November. Väino Pentus testified at one point at court during the previous civil case that part of the money that was intended for Autorollo was used to build Pentus-Rosimannus's house in Tallinn's Viimsi district instead; he later recanted.
Väino Pentus's case has its roots in 2008 when he decided to buy out his partner in the trucking business. In order to proceed, he borrowed 11 million Estonian kroons (about 700,000 euros). It has been reported that creditors were hesitant to issue loans to him, but ultimately decided to, thanks to his son-in-law Rain Rosimannus being an influential Reform Party MP at the time. But the company ran into trouble soon and Pentus asked his daughter and son-in-law's help. The help came in the form of instating lawyer Siim Roode in charge of Autorollo's affairs in April 2010.
According to prosecution, the company was already in a very bad shape by that time and Roode and Pentus subsequently organized a big scam, to avoid orderly bankruptcy proceedings, and free Pentus from being personally liable for dept. Their actions wiped 1.5 million Estonian kroons (approximately 94,000 euros) worth of assets off from Autorollo's books, the prosecution said. The prosecution also said that Pentus and Roode used forged documents to hide the deficit in the company's accounts.
In 2012, a civil lawsuit was brought against Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, Rain Rosimannus and their lawyer Siim Roode, in which some of the Autorollo creditors claimed almost 580,000 euros from the trio. The suing creditors argued that the prominent political family used a scam to hide money, behaved like bogus firm directors and eventually let Autorollo to go down the drain. Pentus-Rosimannus prevailed in all facets of the civil case, but her husband was partly found at fault. He later called the court ruling absurd and appealed, the case is ongoing.
Editor: S. Tambur