The law firm Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan which represents Estonia in the U.S. received €150,000 of consultation and transportation fees in July and August, through the Ministry of Finance.
The Minister of Finance, Martin Helme (EKRE) said in a letter he wrote to the members of the Riigikogu that for the last two months, the law firm has received $179,189.62 which is approximately €153,200.
"In terms of activities, the reports include both the direct work of consultants and the costs of providing the service (transport, flights). The consultants' work includes various legal activities: submission of inquiries, cooperation activities with authorities in Estonia and the USA, etc.," Helme explained.
Three members of the Riigikogu made inquiries to Helme: Katri Raik (SDE), Andres Sutt (Reform) and Jürgen Ligi (Reform).
They pointed out that Helme had asked the Ministry of Finance to allocate €1.5 million from the earmarked funds of the Government Reserve to cover the costs of the legal aid contract with the U.S. law firm.
Among other things, they wanted to know whether the law firm has started to perform the terms on the contract, whether the relevant reports have already been submitted and how much has been paid for the work done by them.
At the beginning of July, Helme announced a cooperation agreement with the law firm on the issue of money laundering.
At the end of July, newspaper Eesti Päevaleht reported that former FBI chief Louis Freeh has previously been hired by the company Prevezon, implicated in the Danske Bank money laundering scandal and could have a conflict of interest. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) has said this has not been proven. Freeh denies there is a conflict of interest.
Estonia will pay the law firm €3 million for two-years work.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright