Security Agency Director Downplays Importance of Secret Files in VEB Case
The director general of the Internal Security Service (ISS), the counterintelligence authority that is also empowered to investigate high-profile corruption cases, says the VEB Fund scandal has been inflated, and noted that his predecessors elected not to start an investigation when they had that option years ago.
"This case has been inflated without merit," said Arnold Sinisalu in an interview with Postimees daily.
A journalist from the paper was seeking comment on a claim from MP Aivar Riisalu that the key to missing money in the case - that some speculate on the basis of circumstantial evidence may have wound up in the pockets of top officials in the 1990s - lies in ISS files that will be unsealed only several decades from now.
Sinisalu said he could not reveal any clues to the content of the documents, but said there was nothing "world-changing" in a file handed to the Parliamentary VEB investigative committee by the ISS. He also corrected the claim that it was sealed for 70 years, saying the term was 25 years.
"The ISS came into contact with the topic because the broader context was explored: was there any risk of organised crime or Russian special services exploiting the situation."
After Estonian depositors lost their money in the Soviet Vneshekonombank, it was revealed that one Russian-registered company with Estonia connections did in fact shortly thereafter retrieve over 30 million US dollars from the funds, with the help of a forged letter from the Estonian central bank and a commercial bank.