The long-running Edgar Savisaar corruption hearings ended Tuesday with only one co-defendant, Kalev Kallo being convicted and sentenced, to a suspended sentence, at Harju County Court.
As reported on ERR News, conclusion to the case, which involved several other co-defendants as well as former Tallinn mayor Savisaar, was due Tuesday. The co-defendants had faced charges of embezzlement, bribe taking and giving and other corruption misdeeds, with evidence being gathered from as far afield as Marbella, Spain, during the course of proceedings.
However, the court found that only Kallo's guilt was proven, BNS reports; he must serve a conditional sentence of one year and six months, while of the other businessmen co-defendants still awaiting sentencing, Aivar Tuulberg and Vello Kunman were acquitted and Alexander Kofkin had his proceedings terminated on the grounds that the limitation period had been exceeded.
Harju County Court said that the sentence of one year and six months handed to Kallo will not be enforced provided he does not commit a new intentional crime during the probation period of two years. Kallo was ordered to pay procedural expenses of €876. He was acquitted of other charges concerning an illegal donation (to the Center Party-ed.), according to BNS.
The prosecutor had sought three months' real jail time for Kallo, plus conditional sentence and a probation period, and the same amount of jail time for Tuulberg and Kofkin, with two year's probation, and a one-year conditional sentence and two year's probation for Kunman.
Other co-defendants including Savisaar himself had already seen conclusions to their hearings (See below).
Defense counsel for the co-defendants affirmed during litigation, which ended in October of last year, that charges by the prosecutor's office have not been proven and thus the defendants are innocent of the charges.
Kallo, Tuulberg, Kunman and Kofkin also used their right of final rebuttal and reiterated that they have not committed the acts they are being tried for
Other co-defendants whose cases were already settled
On June 18 of last year, businessman Hillar Teder admitted in Harju County Court that he had covertly financed the Center Party in 2014, and was released from trial on the grounds of expediency. The court acceded to an application by the prosecutor's office, terminated proceedings against Teder on the grounds of expediency, and ordered Teder to make a penalty payment of €200,000 to the state.
On the same day, the court separated the materials of the criminal case concerning the Center Party, which was also a co-defendant, into separate proceedings, as the Center Party desired to enter a compromise procedure with the Office of the Prosecutor General, which led to a financial penalty of €25,000. A much larger sum the party had originally been hit with, about ten times that amount, was suspended.
Savisaar, 69, was suspended from office in autumn 2015, and was later freed from trial on corruption charges due to his bad health; the on-off trial whose preliminary proceedings started in early 2017, had been dogged by his health issues causing a halt in proceedings. The hearings had passed up all three levels of Estonia's court system – the county court, the circuit court, and the Supreme Court.
The Office of the Prosecutor General had brought charges against Savisaar for accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement on a large scale, and accepting prohibited donation on behalf of the Center Party.
Former City of Tallinn official Priit Kutser stood on trial charged with aiding embezzlement activities, but proceedings were concluded for reasons of expediency.
The Savisaar corruption case hearings began in Harju County Court on June 12, 2017, where the defendants said that they understood the charges but did not plead guilty.
Villu Reiljan, former minister of environment, pleaded guilty and the court decided to hive off the charges related to him from the main case to carry out a compromise procedure, which resulted in him having to pay the state €33,000.
Editor: Andrew Whyte