Helme to meet Eesti Loto supervisory board over corruption allegations ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Toomas Sildam's interview with Martin Helme.
Toomas Sildam's interview with Martin Helme. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Minister of Finance Martin Helme will meet with the management and supervisory board of Eesti Loto on Wednesday to get an overview of the lease agreements concluded by the former head of the company and current member of the Riigikogu Heiki Kranich.

"I plan to meet with the board and council of Eesti Loto AS to get an idea of ​​the details of renting a building to a state-owned company. Then I can decide whether the case needs special scrutiny," said Martin Helme (EKRE).

Director of Marketing and Sales for Eesti Loto Annely Luikmel said a meeting of the Supervisory Board of Eesti Loto will be held two days later.

On Monday the prosecutor's office said is looking at information arising from a report by business newspaper Ärpäev, which points to a possible conflict of interest case involving a sitting MP and former head of state lottery Eesti Loto, and a businessman who allegedly gave a loan of €280,000 and whose real estate development ended up with Eesti Loto as its main tenant.

MP Heiki Kranich (Reform), who used to head up Eesti Loto, received the loan from a businessman whose development on Hallivanamehe street in Tallinn ended up with the state lottery as its key tenant, Äripäev reported.

The implication is that the loan helped facilitate the Eesti Loto relocation, which took place in 2015, while Kranich was still in charge. The enterprise had previously been located on nearby Pärnu maantee.

The allegations have attracted the attention of the prosecutor's office, the finance minister, the State Audit Office and the Riigikogu's anti-corruption committee.

Spokesperson for the prosecutor's office Olja Kivistik told ERR on Tuesday they had not yet decided on whether to initiate criminal proceedings.

"So far, according to data published in the press, no criminal proceedings have been initiated," said Olja Kivistik of the state prosecutor's office.

"The Prosecutor's Office will check the information and if unequivocal evidence of any crime should appear, criminal proceedings will be initiated," Kivistik added.

Kranich denies any wrong-doing, saying that the Eesti Loto lease contract had been concluded a long time ago, and followed a competition involving state-owned real estate developer Riigi Kinnisvara AS.

He said he may take the newspaper to court over the allegations.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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