Prosecutor Seeks Removal of 2 Centre MPs' Immunity
MP Priit Toobal ( Photo: Postimees/Scanpix )
The Prosecutor's Office has requested that two Centre Party MPs be stripped of parliamentary immunity and be indicted for unlawfully retrieving another lawmaker's e-mails. The Centre Party itself has also been named a suspect in the criminal investigation.
The prosecutor plans to indict MPs Priit Toobal and Lauri Laasi, suspected of unauthorized surveillance and instigating violation of confidentiality of messages, said a statement from the Prosecutor's Office on Friday.
The suspicion is that the two influenced a bureaucrat, Ivor Onksion, to unlawfully enter and forward messages from the e-mail account of MP Hannes Rumm. Onksion is also a suspect in the case.
Toobal, the secretary general of the Centre Party, is also suspected of forging five Centre Party earnings receipts for a total of 11,030 euros. According to the prosecutor, the money did not really come from cash donations, as the receipts reported, and its origin is not known.
Stripping the lawmakers of their parliamentary immunity would require that the chancellor of justice propose the action to Parliament, which would then have to approve the move by a majority vote. Today's request from the Prosecutor's Office means the chancellor now has one month to decide whether to propose such an action.
Responding in a press release, Laasi and Toobal denied the suspicions.
"It was expected that they would try to take this to court,” Laasi told uudised.err.ee.
He continued, "After they [searched] the [Center Party's] bureau, this e-mail thing is all that remains, and they are convulsively holding onto it with their teeth. Otherwise ransacking the party's bureau would be completely unjustifiable. We will stand for our rights. The prosecutor will try to get what it can from this thing. We are ready for this.”