Court holds preliminary hearing in Savisaar case ({{commentsTotal}})

The first preliminary hearing in the Savisaar case was held on Thursday. Feb. 16, 2017.
The first preliminary hearing in the Savisaar case was held on Thursday. Feb. 16, 2017. Source: (Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR)

Harju County Court held the first preliminary hearing in the criminal case against former Center Party chairman and Tallinn ex-mayor Edgar Savisaar and his co-defendants on Thursday.

Judge Anne Rebane set the date of the first main hearing for June 16, and hearings are likely to continue through June 2018.

The judge also set the date of the next preliminary hearing, when applications may be submitted, for March 21.

The state of Savisaar's health was not discussed at Thursday's preliminary hearing; it is likely that the question of appointing an expert to assess his health will come up at the next one.

Chief State Prosecutor Steven-Hristo Evestus noted following the preliminary hearing that Edgar Savisaar and the Center Party's representatives have not discussed a possible plea deal with the Office of the Prosecutor General.

The accused parties did not participate in Thursday's preliminary hearing.

Savisaar was represented on Thursday by lawyer Gretta Oltjer-Timberg as his own lawyer, Oliver Nääs, is currently on vacation. Oltjer-Timberg told ERR on Thursday morning, prior to the preliminary hearing, that she was unable to comment on applications to be submitted or disclose information regarding the health of her client, i.e. Savisaar.

The accusations and the accused

The State Prosecutor’s Office has accused Savisaar of using Tallinn city budget funds for personal and Center Party interests, i.e. misappropriation on a large scale, both as an elected official and in a group, as well as four episodes of accepting bribes, money-laundering and the acceptance of prohibited donations to the Center Party on a large scale. The Center Party likewise stands accused as a legal entity.

Accused of bribing Savisaar are businessmen Aivar Tuulberg, Alexander Kofkin, Hillar Teder and Vello Kunman. Tallinn city council chairman Kalev Kallo is accused of aiding bribery and the accepting of bribes; ex-politician Villu Reiljan is accused of mediating bribery; Priit Kutser is accused of aiding misappropriation [of funds].

The Office of the Prosecutor called off the criminal investigations of seven officials due to the absence of the grounds thereof, as the officials’ actions were not motivated by the desire to appropriate city property for a political party or related individuals.

Editor: Aili Vahtla