Select committees to continue assessment of US law firm deal

Joint sitting of Riigikogu select committees.
Joint sitting of Riigikogu select committees. Source: Riigikogu

The Riigikogu's state budget control and anti-corruption committees will gather for a joint sitting on Monday to discuss the controversial deal headed by the Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE), which brings American law firm Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan to Estonia to represent the state.

The deal, signed on June 27 and made public via a press conference in early July, has caused controversy due to its confidential nature and 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.

Finance ministry advisers Kristel Menning and Kersti Kracht, who Helme has previously said led the hiring process of the law firm, are expected to take part in the sitting.

Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) are also invited to participate.

The chairman of the state budget control select committee Jürgen Ligi (Reform), said: "We have gotten an overview of the hiring of the intermediary, but the source of contradictions has not become any clearer. The invitees can help clear the air."

Chairman of the anti-corruption select committee Katri Raik (Social Democrats), said: "Different documents and what has taken place in the committee sittings allow us to say that the Republic of Estonia should not have signed a deal with Mr. Freeh's bureau and the contract itself is weak. How such an agreement was made has to be cleared up."

Helme has pushed back on the allegations and said the deal is useful for Estonia and there is no conflict of interest for the U.S. law firm.

The Riigikogu is currently on summer recess, hence the need for an extraordinary session.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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