Neither the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) nor the prosecutor's office have any idea of the source of a leak which led to an article in investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress on Thursday, which said that former Postimees editor-in-chief Peeter Helme had been under investigation for allegedly enticing a minor online. Both authorities say only a small group of people had access to the information about the investigation, which saw Helme detained in late November, adding that the source of the leak was not one of their personnel.
PPA: Only select individuals involved in investigation
Raul Vahtra, head of the PPA's internal control office, told ERR Thursday that PPA personnel had checked all the logs in the authority's various information systems, which would have enabled identifying who from the PPA's staff had accessed the records.
"The current inspection has revealed nothing to suggest that the information was used illegally or leaked," said Vahtra, who added that only a select group of people were involved in the investigation of the case.
"Safeguarding measures were followed very carefully, to ensure this information would not be disclosed to anyone who had no need to know it. This also concerns other colleagues. Criminal investigation records should not be disclosed, something which should only be done with the permission of the prosecutor, including within the authority (i.e. the PPA-ed.)," Vahtra said.
Vaahtra also noted that the prohibition extended to private conversation.
Prosecutor's office also says unaware of any leaks
Dilaila Nahkur-Tammiksaar, chief public prosecutor with the prosecutor's office supervision department, also told ERR that the office has no information about any such leak, and that every instance of a leak would result in internal audits.
"It is surprising and reprehensible for us that, prior to a public hearing, criminal investigation records and personal information get made public, which is what happened this time. As always, we have taken this case very seriously," said Dilaila Nahkur-Tammiksaar.
When asked if Peeter Helme had been truthful in his comments to the media on the matter, Dilaila Nahkur-Tammiksaar said: "The prosecution does not comment on the details of any criminal proceedings and the current state of play. The proceedings are in their initial stages, making it inappropriate to do so."
Eesti Ekspress article
According to weekly Eesti Ekspress, Helme, who stepped down as Postimees editor-in-chief in early November, was detained in late November and released 20 hours later.
Helme denied the allegations, commenting to Eesti Ekspress that he had visited an online chatroom and thought that he had been engaging with an adult, given a regular user of the site in question has no way of verifying their interlocutor's age, he said.
Helme also said he was cooperating fully with the investigation.
Editor: Andrew Whyte