Centre Party illegal donations appeal overruled
Tallinn Administrative Court has dismissed an appeal by the coalition Centre Party over an illegal donations ruling.
The injunction, made by the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) on Oct. 12 2018, ordered Centre to return €40,387 to the City of Tallinn, which the ERJK said was an illegal donation.
The ERJK also ordered that the party eliminate shortcomings in the corresponding quarterly statements for 2017 and provide evidence of the fulfilment of these obligations to the committee.
The administrative court found that the committee's injunction was lawful, meaning there was no basis for overturning it.
The illegal donation related to TV programs broadcast on Russian-language TV channel PBK ahead of the local government elections of Oct. 15 2017.
The City of Tallinn covered the cost of the programs making it a financially assessable benefit to the Centre Party, constituting a donation in line with the Political Parties Act.
However, donations by a legal entity is prohibited.
According to BNS, precedent shows that in cases where local government pays for advertising of party members in order to influence voters, rather than in public interest or fulfilling public tasks, this is considered a forbidden donation, in line with current law.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte