Date on VEB Bank Letter Not Forged, Investigative Committee Head Says
Rainer Vakra, chairman of a parliamentary committee investigating the money trail in a defunct Soviet-era bank, said there is no evidence that a forged letter regarding allegedly falsified information by the Bank of Estonia was made some years after the events investigated.
The committee was set up in March 2013 to investigate what appeared to some to be a botched attempt by Estonian officials in the 1990s to recover Estonian funds frozen in the bank. It was sparked by the revelation, in a central bank internal audit, that in 1995 someone at the Bank of Estonia misrepresented the true situation in order to try to recover money from the Russian Federation, uudised.err.ee reported today.
In late February, it emerged that the former central bank governor Vahur Kraft submitted a forged document during a hearing last year and in early March, a criminal investigation was launched.
Kraft had been called in to the parliamentary committee investigating the case in 2013 to testify on matters related to the forged original document from 1995, which said a Russian company, TSL International, had a claim for 32.3 million dollars frozen in VEB Bank.
Vahur then presented two documents to prove the 32 million dollars claim and one of the documents turned out the be forged, while the other was sent for further analysis.
According to Vakra, there were suspicions that TSL International acquired the claim only with deals that took place in 1997 and 1998 and falsely dated the claim 1995. However, investigation and handwriting tests showed that the letter was signed by Kraft, on paper used in 1995 at the Bank of Estonia. Also, evidence confirm that the letter from VEB Bank, to which the Bank of Estonia replied, was submitted to the Bank of Estonia in 1995.
The commission will submit its final report on June 18, having asked the parliament to extend the deadline on several occasions before.