Extraordinary sessions of two Riigikogu special committees took place Monday afternoon, and were attended by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center). The sitting was convened to discuss a deal between finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) and American law firm Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan, which has hit controversy.
The two committees in question are the state budget committee, headed up by Jürgen Ligi (Reform), a former finance minister, and the anti-corruption committee, whose chair is former interior minister Katri Raik (SDE). A previous scheduled sitting was called off due to a lack of quorum – coalition MPs on the two committees said they were unaware of the planned meeting or were getting their cars serviced.
The Riigikogu is on summer recess, hence the need for an extraordinary session.
The sitting started at 1.30 p.m. and focused on the details of the agreement, which has largely been kept confidential but which is intended to help Estonia get representation in money laundering investigations in the U.S., with a view to both helping maintain the country's reputation and to get a cut of any damages owing to the state.
The deal, signed on June 27 and made public via a press conference in early July, hit controversy due not only to its confidential nature but also over claims that Louis Freeh, a former FBI director who was senior partner at Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, had acted on behalf of a Russian money launderer who had channeled money via the now-defunct Tallinn branch of Danske Bank.
Louis Freeh, who has since left Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan but is still working on behalf of Estonia, denies having represented the Russian businessman.
Editor: Andrew Whyte