Center Party leaders claim they don't know major first-quarter donor

The Centre Party received the most donations in 2019.
The Centre Party received the most donations in 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Neither the secretary general of the Center Party nor the chair of the party's Tartu chapter know anything about a Tartu businesswoman who donated €50,000 to the party last quarter.

"I have not spoken with Jana-Jelen Juhaste either before or after the donation," Center Party Secretary General Mihhail Korb told ERR. "This person has not sought contact with me either. It's great when people who support the goals and principles of the Center Party donate to us. If you write about this topic, then I'd like to thank her via the media."

Tartu chapter chair Jaan Toots said just as little, noting that Juhaste's name was foreign to him and that he didn't know how to comment on the donation.

In the first quarter of 2020, the Center Party raised €108,705 in monetary donations, €50,000 of which was donated by businesswoman Jana-Helen Juhaste, it appears from information published on the website of the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK).

According to business register data, Juhaste is a board member at Tarkoris OÜ and Telekomehitus OÜ, the former of which is a cleaning company and the latter of which is involved in the installation of telecommunications cabling. Both companies are legally registered in Tartu.

EKRE membership

Juhaste herself is not a member of the Center Party. According to information available in the business register, she was in fact a member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) until Tuesday — more precisely, from January 30, 2004 through April 14, 2020. When ERR's Russian-language online news portal asked Juhaste about this, she responded that her membership in EKRE came as a surprise to her. She later did not respond to any further calls from ERR.

A source that spoke with ERR and is familiar with the topic found that while the donation may spark questions, it would be very difficult for them to be answered.

"If someone owns businesses and has business activity, this few thousand [euros] remains within the limits of plausibility," the source said. "If she has publicly declared this donation, she must have understood that she is good for it."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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