Ossinovski a pawn in corruption case, weekly says
Estonia's richest man and father of Social Democrat head Jevgeni Ossinovski, Oleg Ossinovski, is accused of giving a 500,000 euro bribe to Uģis Magonis, the now former head of Latvian Railways. But weekly Eesti Ekspress said Ossinovski might only have been a pawn in the game and the case is essentially a Latvian internal political game.
The case revolves around four old locomotives sold by Ossinovski's company Skinest to Latvian Railways for two million euros.
Eesti Ekspress reported today that cash in paper bags, such as the 500,000 euros found in Magonis's car when he returned from Estonia, is a norm in the railway business, and that the money could have been intended for Vladimir Yakunin, the out-going Russian Railways head, with Magonis just a courier.
Magonis was arrested by Latvian anti-corruption authorities. The arrest could have been the result of political intrigue the weekly reported, adding that the anti-corruption bureau in Latvia is politically susceptible. Magonis may have been too pro-Russian for some Latvian politicians, despite increasing transit volumes between Russia and Latvia three-fold in the last 10 years.
The weekly said cash-based business is widespread in Russia and Latvia, but no longer in Estonia, and Ossinovski knows well the ins and outs of the railway business in Eastern Europe and in Russia.