Plot to Buy Votes at 2013 Election Foiled by Police, Reveals Daily
Eesti Päevaleht today reported that police have closed a case where men linked to organized crime allegedly planned to buy votes to elect an ally to Tallinn City Council.
According to the daily, former Center Party member Tõnis Bittman organized a team to buy votes for Social Democrat candidate Robert Sadovski, who would then sell his voice in the council to the Center Party.
State prosecutor Inna Omber said the case has been closed without any formal charges as authorities moved to stop the crime before it happened and there is a lack of hard evidence.
Bittmann and Sadovski both denied the accusation, saying they had assembled a election team and did nothing illegal. That team included a number of people with links to organized crime in the country.
The alleged plan was to ask friends, family members and others living in the Kopli district of Tallinn to vote for Sadovski, promising to pay them 35 euros a few days after the elections. The group hoped to gather 350 to 500 votes and had a budget of 15,000 to 20,000 euros, but police moved in on the morning of Election Day in October and arrested group members.
Sadovski himself quit the Center Party in 2011 and joined the Social Democrats a year later, collected 67 votes, the foUrth most for the party in the Põhja-Tallinn voting districts. One Social Democrat candidate was elected to the council from that area, collecting 458 votes.