Newspaper: Lepp suspected of embezzling talk show profits
According to allegations against him, Tallinna TV (TTV) CEO Toomas Lepp sold the TV program "Vaba mõtte klubi" ("Free Thought Club") back to the TV channel he headed via acquaintances' missing traders while still having Tallinna TV cover production costs.
Daily Postimees (link in Estonian) reported that OÜ KVA Telecom was the company allegedly involved in the scheme, under which the channel’s hit program "Vaba mõtte klubi" as well as “Keskkonnanädal” were produced at Tallinna Televisioon.
According to the newspaper’s information, the money paid to KVA Telecom for the programs provided the company with a total turnover of nearly 60,000 for the financial year, and yet the actual production costs of "Vaba mõtte klubi" were low: guests of the talk show were paid just 50 euros and not much money was spent on the wages of lighting, sound and camera crew as they were already on TTV's payroll.
A criminal investigation was launched after a member of the television station’s technical team informed Chairman of the Corruption Committee of the Riigikogu Artur Talvik about the matter and Talvik referred them to the North District Prosecutor’s Office.
On Wednesday morning, the Central Criminal Police arrested Lepp, TTV editor-in-chief Mart Ummelas KVA Telecom owner Valter Kraav and his wife Lea Kraav, the last of whom is the accountant for Lepp's production firm Videomeedia Extra. They are suspected of having embezzled a total of a few hundred thousand euros.