Former Narva municipal politicians' case to be reheard in Supreme Court
The case involving Andrei Filippov, Narva's ex-deputy mayor, Fjodor Ovsjannikov, former member of the city council and chair of the council's finance committee as well as other defendants is slated to be mulled over by the Supreme Court of Estonia once again as the top court accepted the prosecutor's appeal in cassation on Tuesday.
The latest ruling in the case, which turned out to be extremely complex legally, was issued on April 8, when the Tartu Appellate Court overturned the April 7, 2014 judgment of the first-tier Viru County Court in the part in which Ovsjannikov, 57, Sergei Hamitski, 56, Aleksandr Arsentjev, 57, and Viktor Belsner, 63, were found guilty of a competition-related offense, Filippov, 57, of accepting a bribe in his capacity as an official and abetting a competition-related offense and Hamitski of bribe-giving. The appellate court acquitted the accused on these charges while leaving the remainder of the first-tier court's verdict unchanged.
The appellate court reviewed the case on the basis of a Supreme Court decision on Dec. 15, 2015, which found that the case had to be sent back to the circuit court to verify the lawfulness of surveillance activities and make a new decision.
According to the charge sheet, Ovsjannikov, a member of the Narva City Council and the commission organizing public tenders, created a situation in Narva from 2008-2011 wherein construction companies could qualify for city contracts only after they had paid 10 percent of the value of the contract under different disguises to either Ovsjannikov or a businessman identified by his first name as Gennadi, who was acting in collusion with Ovsjannikov. The companies that paid the money were included in the list of firms invited to the tender and eventually ensured victory in the tender by means of various agreements undermining competition or manipulating the terms of the tender.