Current domestic ferry service provider Väinamere Liinid, owned by Vjatšeslav Leedo, has taken former economic minister Urve Palo to court, accusing her of lying about the tender for the ferry service, which was won by a state-owned company.
Leedo's Väinamere Liinid has serviced major domestic ferry routes for the past 20 years, but in September 2016, the state-owned Port of Tallinn will take over, winning a procurement to provide the service for the next decade.
Leedo told Eesti Päevaleht on the weekend, that Palo lied about a number of aspects of the tender. He then said his company is planning to sue Palo, and a spokesman for the Harju County Court has now confirmed that Väinamere Liinid has taken legal action.
In the interview, Leedo said the first round of the procurement was organized to see his company's bid, so that in the second round, Port of Tallinn could copy it.
He also said the total price of the new ferries ordered by Port of Tallinn is much higher than published, adding that his offer was cheaper for the state. Väinamere Liinid currently nets around 15-17 million euros annually in subsidies.
The new tender was worth around 200 million euros over 10 years, but a requirement was that the ferries should be new. Palo's ministry, when announcing the winner in 2014, said the competitors bid was 60 million euros higher than that of the Port of Tallinn.
Palo said the tender was appealed and contested in court, as well as by the Ministry of Finance, but the tender was always ruled to have been correct.
In the same interview, Leedo also accused Port of Tallinn supervisory board head Remo Holsmer of asking him for bribes. Holsmer has denied the charge and has promised to take Leedo to court.
Editor: J.M. Laats