Center Party politician found guilty of embezzlement
The Harju County court found Alar Nääme, district mayor of Central Tallinn, guilty of embezzlement on Thursday. The court handed down a pecuniary punishment.
According to the court, Nääme’s guilt has been proven, and he has to pay a pecuniary punishment of 200 daily rates, which in his case means €6,300.
The prosecutor had asked for the same punishment for Nääme, while the defense had wanted him acquitted. The parties to the proceedings can appeal the decision and take it to the Tallinn circuit court.
According to the statement of charges, Nääme staged two concerts at a cultural center in the South Estonian border town of Valga in January and February last year. The concerts were free for the audience and aimed at enticing voters to support Nääme in the 2015 Riigikogu elections.
Nääme ran as a candidate for the Valga, Võru, and Põlva counties.
He is accused of arranging for the payment of the bills related to the two events from the budget of the Central Tallinn city district. The bills concerned the rent of premises, transport, catering services, music, and also the rent of equipment.
Valga residents were invited to the concert with leaflets presenting Nääme as candidate for parliament. The leaflet featured the logo of the Center Party and listed the candidate’s pre-election promises.
The investigation was conducted by the Internal Security Service (ISS) and supervised by the Public Prosecutor's Office. Nääme’s case is only the latest reported in which members of the Center Party abused their office and access to public funds to pay expenses related to political campaigns.