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Former Center Party Member Names Leading MP as Money Laundering Co-Conspirator

Tarmo Lausing
Tarmo Lausing Source: Photo: ERR

Ex-Center Party member Tarmo Lausing has accused MP Kadri Simson, formerly the party's secretary general, of tasking him with laundering 350,000 Estonian kroons into the party's pockets several years ago.

"It was not my first wish to reveal the name, but it emerged during the weekend," Lausing told ETV.

Lausing added, in what sounded like a threat, that he may know of more recent unexposed financial corruption. "I will look at how the party behaves. If it behaves well and implements some kind of measures in an effort to cleanse and improve itself, then I may not reveal anything further. Otherwise I will see what I will do," Lausing said.

The former member of the Center Party came out with the claims in a newspaper article last week. He said that in the 2000s he and others conscripted by him transferred the equivalent of nearly 20,000 euros of unclear origin into party coffers in the form of donations.

Lausing, who left the party recently, is 30 but has held several leadership positions, including deputy chairman of the Tallinn City Council.

When initially asked to divulge the identity of the money's source, Lausing said: "I don't want to say, because [this person], too, was following orders, but he or she is still in a leading position in the party and the state."

Lausing claimed that money laundering practices are widespread in Estonian politics. The scheme he described is similar to the donations that whistleblowers in 2012 said were accepted by the Reform Party.

Prosecutors have said Lausing's assertions would not be followed up in a criminal case, as the statute of limitations has expired.

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