Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Äripäev Aivar Hundimägi writes in reply to criticism by Heiki Kranich that when a journalist learns of important circumstances that raise questions of a potential conflict of interest or demonstrate relationships between entrepreneurs and politicians, they need to be published along with relevant explanations and comments by those involved.
Äripäev published on Monday the loan relationship of Reform Party MP, former national lottery company Eesti Loto CEO Heiki Kranich and circumstances pertaining to Eesti Loto moving into a new building dug up from different sources by investigative journalist Katariina Krjutškova. We are convinced that the claims published are accurate and legitimate. We have been sufficiently thorough in verifying our story.
We do not have all of the information and documentation concerning the three topics in question – the loan relationship between businessman Koit Uus' firm and Heiki Kranich, the latter's investment into a now bankrupt company and the search for a new building for Eesti Loto.
That is why it is difficult to say at this time whether we're dealing with random coincidences, a conflict of interest or collusion. The task of the press is first and foremost to ask questions when things are unclear.
It is very good that the Riigikogu Anti-Corruption Select Committee, the prosecution and the finance minister have called for more clarity in this matter. It is also good Heiki Kranich is explaining the circumstances as these are matters of considerable public interest. It is furthermore important to note that we asked concerned persons for comments before publishing the article.
The Heiki Kranich topic as well as some earlier cases (such as that of Port of Tallinn) suggest there are three fields that should be rendered more transparent in Estonia.
Firstly, financial and business relationships of entrepreneurs and politicians. Secondly, the economic interests of state company executives and finally, the transparency of state-owned companies' decisions and the public being able to access information pertaining to those decisions after the fact.
Äripäev finds that Heiki Kranich's criticism voiced in an interview to ERR is unfounded. It is entirely commonplace when the attention of Äripäev journalists and those of other publications falls on the activities and decisions of MPs, high-ranking officials and major businessmen.
When a journalist learns of important circumstances that raise questions of a potential conflict of interest or demonstrate relationships between entrepreneurs and politicians, they need to be published along with relevant explanations and comments. That is precisely what Äripäev did in its article on Monday.
Editor: Marcus Turovski