Savisaar suspected of corruption, money laundering, accepting illegal political donations (5)
The Office of the State Prosecutor suspects suspended Tallinn mayor and Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar of corruption and money laundering as well as having accepted illegal party donations. Asked about the accusations on Wednesday, Savisaar said there was nothing new.
Ilmar Kahro, spokesman of the Office of the State Prosecutor, said to ERR on Wednesday that the Center Party was suspected of having received large sums in illegal donations, and that the case was related to a suspected corruption case involving Savisaar,
According to Kahro, Savisaar is also suspected of having laundered large amounts of money. Of nearly €192,000 of Savisaar’s money in a Swiss account, nearly €174,000 was used with the aim of hiding the actual origin of assets as well as their real owner.
“The episode connected to money laundering was investigated since 2011 and now added to a criminal case involving corruption,” Kahro said.
This latest development included, Savisaar is now suspected of corruption in four different cases, large-scale money laundering, and accepting illegal political contributions in large amounts.
Steven-Hristo Evestus, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said to ERR that the investigation had reached its final phase before the case would be taken to court.
“The Internal Security Service will forward the criminal case materials to the prosecutor’s office soon. After that, the prosecutor’s office will prepare the materials to be viewed by the defense, which will at this point receive all the materials collected during the investigation. They will then submit their own positions and applications, and after that the prosecutor’s office will prepare the charges,” Evestus confirmed.
Savisaar’s lawyer, Oliver Nääs, said to ERR that the suspicions of the Internal Security Service were nothing new. “The suspicion of money laundering is the same the Internal Security Service has been investigating since 2011. In the case of the illegal political contributions we’re looking at the same facts that were brought up in connection will Hillar Teder last autumn, today their legal qualification was specified, that’s all. And Edgar Savisaar said he was not guilty of these accusations,” Nääs remarked.
“As the suspect is the chairman of a political party, it’s logical that the attempt is made to extend them to the party,” Nääs said.
Savisaar: No comment
Edgar Savisaar caught a train to Moscow on Wednesday. To journalists waiting for him at Tallinn’s Baltic Station, Savisaar said that he intended to spend a few days in Moscow and that he had been invited to talk about Tallinn’s development at Moscow State University already last spring, but that health problems had kept him from going.
He commented the new allegations brought up against him saying that he wasn’t going to comment on them. “I’ve looked through it all with my lawyer, and there aren’t any new suspicions. All that’s been there before is still there."
Member of the Center Party’s leadership Jaanus Karilaid thinks the proceedings against Savisaar are a political game. “The Office of the State Prosecutor can’t remove the Reform Party and IRL’s opponents from the political arena. Only the court can, and there hasn’t been a verdict yet,” Karilaid said. “We’re taking things as they come, and we’re really quite calm.”
The Office of the State Prosecutor suspects businessmen Alexander Kofkin, Hillar Teder, Aivar Tuulberg, and Vello Kunman of having bribed Edgar Savisaar. In connection with these cases, former politician and current advisor to Kunman’s Silikaat Grupp Villu Reiljan as well as politician Kalev Kallo are suspected of having arranged the bribes.