Seli leaves Reform Party; politicians, athletes weigh in (1)
Neinar Seli's guilty verdict in a conflict of interest case has caused many politicians and athletes to comment. Seli himself has quit the Reform Party and has promised to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
Seli was found guilty by the Supreme Court, the highest court in Estonia that reviews judgements made by courts in the two lower tiers of the Estonian justice system by way of cassation proceedings, for participating in a Port of Tallinn supervisory board decision to donate 250,000 euros to the Estonian Olympic Committee. He was the head of both institutions at the time, prompting authorities to begin an investigation.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform Party) said Seli must step down as the EOK president, otherwise sport in Estonia will have a shadow hanging over it. “I believe he will find the strength in him to step down and save Estonian sports from an extended scandal,” Rõivas said.
Erki Nool, former MP and Olympic gold medalist, said Seli could hamper Estonia's efforts at the 2016 summer games. According to him, the International Olympic Committee could threaten Estonia's participation at the games if Seli stays in office.
“He made decisions to benefit the wider field of sports and voted in favor of handing the Olympic Committee donations. It was not a selfish act. I understand that legally speaking it was incorrect, but if one were to look deeper, one would not find any wrongdoing,” Ott Kiivikas, member of the Estonian Olympic Committee, said.
MEP Indrek Tarand said he welcomed the news as it shows that Estonia is a state based on laws. “This shows Estonia is a fundamental follower of the rule of law and this is very important for us and for the entire Europe,” he said.
Seli joined the Reform Party in 1994, serving in the Parliament from 1999-2003. As of today, he is no longer a party member.