The Office of the Prosecutor General decided last week to end the criminal proceeding concerning allegations against Põhja-Tallinn City District Elder Raimond Kaljulaid (Center) of abetting due to lack of public interest in the proceedings.
Spokespeople for the Põhja-Tallinn City District Government said that Raimond Kaljulaid and his lawyer, Aivar Pilv, received an order on the termination of the proceeding from the Office of the Prosecutor General on Friday.
Under the ruling, Kaljulaid must pay 1,000 euros into state coffers and pay an additional 800 euros to cover the costs of an expert semiotic opinion.
The prosecutor's office took into account Kaljulaid's absence of a previous criminal record and lack of information about any other alleged offenses committed by him. It was also pointed out that Kaljulaid acted as a business-owner, not as an official, and that he did not have control over the budgetary funds of the City of Tallinn.
Kaljulaid's lawyer described the outcome as "sensible and rational."
"This is an extremely disputable legal interpretation which has no judicial precedent, the final legal assessment of which by the court depends on very many details and nuances," explained Pilv. "Although Raimond Kaljulaid did not view his activity as abetting embezzlement, the prosecutor's office found that there were grounds to do so, in their opinion."
According to the official’s lawyer, it was obvious that the judicial proceeding of a criminal case of such scale, involving different persons and episodes, which had also been linked to another large-scale criminal case, would take years and would be extremely cumbersome and time-consuming as well. Because of this, he continued, they deemed it sensible to agree to the termination of the proceeding which would not entail a punishment.
Kaljulaid said that some people would now definitely rush to the conclusion that a prerequisite for the termination of the proceeding was his giving testimony against Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar.
"I can assure you that this was not the case," he said. "Edgar Savisaar and his lawyers will soon get the chance to examine my testimony and will be able to ascertain that I haven't said a single bad thing about him. I gave testimony about my own role in carrying out that campaign and the criminal proceeding was terminated because the prosecutor's office did not consider punishing me for it necessary."
The Hiiu Stadium advertisements
The Põhja-Tallinn city district elder was summoned by the Internal Security Service (KaPo) in the second half of September and declared a suspect in abetting embezzlement in mid-September of this year.
The allegation against Kaljulaid, connected to the ongoing corruption probe into Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar misusing city budget funds for personal use, had to do with advertisements Kaljulaid’s company produced for the promotion of the opening of Tallinn's Hiiu Stadium in 2013.
While he had been a member of the Center Party since 2001, Kaljulaid told ERR’s online news portal in September that at the time he his company produced the Hiiu Stadium advertisements, he himself was a private business-owner, not an official.
“I considered completely different things — that the [advertising] campaigns were completed on time, that the business would not incur a loss and so on,” the Tallinn official explained. “Posters, booklets, films and other advertising materials were produced by various political parties both for local governments and on the state level and of course I expected and believe to this day that these were legal [in nature].”
Kaljulaid insisted that he had never mixed up city and party funds, not even when he was still an active business-owner.
“When I have produced advertisements for the party, then the bills [for them] have gone to the party, and when we have done work for local governments, then the bills have gone to those local governments,” he explained. “Nobody has ordered election advertisements using Tallinn city funds — not directly or by implication. And I would have never begun to do so. In this case, advertising was commissioned for Hiiu Stadium and that is what was received in return.”
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla