Acquittal of Tartu ex-deputy mayor finalized after court dismisses appeal

Artjom Suvorov.
Artjom Suvorov. Source: Madis Hindre/ERR

The acquittal of Artjom Suvorov (Center), former deputy mayor of Tartu, on all the charges made against him has taken effect after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the prosecution.

As the court refused to handle the appeal by South District Prosecutor Margus Gross, the acquittal by the Tartu Circuit Court from October last year took effect.

At the end of October 2019, the circuit court dismissed the prosecutor's complaint and left a judgment of the Tartu County Court from March 23 unchanged where former deputy mayor Artjom Suvorov was acquitted on the counts of repeated bribe-taking and attempted fraud. Ivan Zayats was also acquitted on the count of offering a bribe.

The court ruled in favor of compensating Suvorov €4,194 for legal costs.

Suvorov was accused of repeatedly misusing his official position and accepting material assets for it in the form of a bribe, as well as soliciting a bribe in the interest of a third person, and attempted fraud. 

His attorney, Aivar Pilv, said it was important that the court put emphasis on positions of principle in the meaning of the presumption of innocence and offered an explanation as to why the charges against Suvorov was not proven.

"Law enforcement bodies must draw the necessary conclusions from the assessments of the limits of permissibility of the staging of a criminal offense given in said criminal case," the attorney added.

After assessing all the evidence, the court did not establish that Suvorov's actions expressed a readiness to accept bribes and that he would then misuse his official position. 

Concerning the second part of the charges, the court found an agreement concluded between a representative of the nonprofit MTU Tartu Sotsiaalkapitali Arengukeskus and Ivan Zayats, head of the nonprofit MTU Louna-Eesti Veteranide ja Pensionaride Liit, was not meant as a bribe in the interest of a third person, meaning Suvorov.

On the charge of attempted fraud, the court said it can convict a person only when they are convinced of the incriminating evidence.  

The charges against Suvorov stated that between 2015 and 2017 he made promised, and did help, his acquaintances receive support for their sports clubs from the city of Tartu.

Suvorov was suspected of received bribes totalling over €600 both in cash and objects holding financial value in return for using his official position in directing and influencing decision-making processes.

The prosecutor's office accused Suvorov of requesting a €960 bribe from a third person in 2017, after which he would have given €2,000 from the city of Tartu to a non-profit association.

The €960 euros had to be transferred by the bribe giver to an acquaintance linked to Suvorov, who helped Suvorov during local government election events in the city of Tartu.

Suvorov was also accused trying to cheat a 77-year-old woman out of €5,000 while he was a member of the housing committee of the Tartu city government.

The pretrial procedure was carried out by the Internal Security Service under the leadership of the South District Prosecutor's Office.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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