Police send TLT corruption case to prosecutor's office ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Over the next five years, Tallinn will be updating its rolling stock with natural gas buses.
Over the next five years, Tallinn will be updating its rolling stock with natural gas buses. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Police have sent an investigation into Tallinn public transport company Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS (TLT) to the prosecutor's office after concluding an investigation into the purchase of second-hand buses.

There are more than 10 suspects in the case which concerns the purchasing of second-hand buses and spare parts, bribery, and money laundering.

Kaarel Kallas, spokesperson for the North District Prosecutor's Office, told BNS: "The collection of evidence has been completed and the case file is at the prosecutor's office. There are more than 10 suspects in the TLT criminal case. The final decision on the procedure will be made after an evaluation of the evidence gathered."

Those suspected of crimes during the investigation are Jaanus Vink, Kaspar Keelmann, Tarmo Sillajoe, Kaido Noulik, Andre Kalmus, Alar Urm, Andres Herkel, Hannes Erbsen, Taavi Koplimae, Indrek Gregor, Pavel Suslov and, legal entities KTK Tehnika OÜ, Tarbevaruosa OÜ, Tarbeteenus OÜ and Balti Bussi Grupp AS.

As far as is known to BNS, TLT filed a civil action of several million euros in the criminal case, which the suspects and their lawyers consider to be exaggerated.

The key player of the criminal case concerning the purchase of second-hand buses for the City of Tallinn is Jaanus Vink, former deputy manager of repair workshops at TLT. According to the suspicion, in exchange for bribes, Vink ensured regular purchases of buses, spare parts and other equipment and services for TLT AS from Powercom OÜ, Tarbetehnika OÜ, KTK Tehnika OÜ, Tarbevaruosa OÜ and Tarbeteenus OÜ, which are linked to Kaspar Keelmann.

The investigation determined the manager of these private limited companies was Kaspar Keelmann, who, with the consent of the companies' board members and shareholders Taavi Koplimäe and Indrek Gregor, gave Vink bribes from the assets of these companies.

The investigation determined that between 2009 until April 2018 an agreement between Vink and Keelmann meant Vink, as an employee of TLT, was supposed to ensure TLT tenders for second-hand buses and other equipment were won by KTK Tehnika OÜ, a company linked to Keelmann. According to the suspicion, Vink was involved in similar agreements with other companies mentioned in this article.

Vink knew what TLT needed and, in coordination with managers of the bus traffic service Andres Herkel and Hannes Erbsen, sought out used buses to be bought from abroad even before a TLT tender was announced. Subsequently, Vink and Keelmann organized the purchase of buses for the companies affiliated with Keelmann and their delivery to Estonia.

According to the allegations, Herkel and Erbsen on the basis of information provided by Vink then drew up TLT's procurement terms under which the latter acquired the previously purchased buses for TLT from companies affiliated with Keelmann with a mark-up.

For example, from January 2009 to the end of December 2011, Powercom OÜ, a company linked to Keelmann, received orders for spare parts from TLT in the amount of over €556,000 and for that, Keelmann paid for Vink's personal expenses in the amount of slightly over €30,000 from the company's assets, while the company also transferred approximately €124,000 to Arvika TJ OÜ, which is linked to Vink.

At the same time, aside from the bribes received from Powercom, Vink gave €3,142 as a bribe to Erbsen, who dealt with approving invoices at TLT.

In 2012-2017, KTK Tehnika OÜ, linked to Keelmann, participated in 15 of TLT's tenders and earned an income of altogether €4,020,200. According to the allegations, for the tenders won, Keelmann with the help of legal manager of the company gave Vink and the company linked to him, Arvika OÜ, bribes from the assets of KTK Tehnika OÜ.

Also serving as bribes were various transport vehicles purchased by KTK Tehnika OÜ, which were registered in the name of the private limited company, but the assigned user of which was Jaanus Vink, who is also suspected to be the actual owner of these vehicles.

According to the investigation documents, with this scheme, Vink acquired an Aston Martin, a Lamborghini Murcielago, four Mercedes Benz vehicles, a Hummer AM General and Hummer H2 as well 27 Harvey Davidson motorcycles and several other vehicles.

According to the suspicion, from 2012 to April 2018, KTK Tehnika OÜ covered Vink's personal expenses in the total amount of slightly over €843,000 from the company's accounts. Approximately €576,000 of Vink's personal expenses were paid for from the accounts of Tarbetehnika OÜ and the company linked to him, Arvika OÜ, received transfers totally over €563,000. Through Vink, Erbsen is suspected to have received bribes from Keelmann totally approximately €32,000 from the assets of Tarbetehnika OÜ.

From the accounts of Tarbeteenus OÜ, which was also linked to Keelmann, approximately €68,000 was transferred for Vink's own expenses and those of Arvika, while Erbsen is suspected to have received €1,125 as a bribe.

According to the suspicion, from 2009 to April 2018, Powercom OÜ, Tarbetehnika OÜ, KTK Tehnika OÜ and Tarbeteenus OÜ covered Jaanus Vink's personal expenses in the amount of approximately €1,491,000 and over the same period of time, the companies have made transfers to Arvika OÜ, linked to Vink, in the amount of approximately €984,000.

The suspicion also includes several smaller episodes where the sums that were moved as bribes were around a few thousand euros.

In addition to repeatedly taking bribes on a large scale, Vink is also suspected of extensive money laundering because he filed fictitious invoices through the company related to him to hide the bribes.

The criminal investigation was launched when a corruption analysis by the Central Criminal Police revealed that a one-man company was constantly winning Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS tenders in spring 2018. Seven men were arrested by the Central Criminal Police as suspects. All of them have now been released.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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