Court finds Tartu ex-deputy mayor partially guilty, issues €16,000 fine

Valvo Semilarski and lawyer Oliver Nääs.
Valvo Semilarski and lawyer Oliver Nääs. Source: Elina Paševitš/ERR

Tartu County Court on Tuesday found Valvo Semilarski, former deputy mayor of Tartu, partially guilty of a violation of a procedural restriction and punished him with a €16,000 fine.

According to the accusation, Semilarski participated in more than 30 city government sessions between 2015 and 2017 which he should have withdrawn from due to conflicting personal interests. These were related to companies operating in Tartu, the owners or managers of which he interacted with a personal level outside of work.

The court found Semilarski guilty of violations of a procedural restriction concerning AS Eviko and AS Aqua Marina in relation to sittings of the city government in 2017 on June 6, September 19, May 23 and June 1.

The court said that it appears from the minutes of the sittings of the city government that Semilarski, who attended the meetings, never withdrew himself from the discussion of matters and adoption of decisions related to the companies AS Eviko and AS Aqua Marina.

The court observed that in the absence of consensus, a vote would be required in the city government, and in such case the vote of a member of a city government may be crucial for a  decision to get adopted. 

The court punished the former deputy mayor with a pecuniary punishment in the amount of 250 daily rates, or €17,530 euros. As the period of time spent by Semilarski in pretrial detention is deemed as part of the punishment served, the amount to be actually paid by him is 241 daily rates or €16,898.92. The amount is payable in parts over a period of 12 months from the verdict's stepping into force.

The court found Semilarski partially not guilty when it comes to violation of procedural restrictions in relation to the conduct of procedures and adoption of decisions concerning the companies AS Rand & Tuulberg Grupp and AS Vallikraavi Kinnisvara.

The court established that Semilarski and Tuulberg do not know each other personally and have no regular communication between them. 

Semilarski was deemed partially not guilty also when it comes to the conduct of procedures and adoption of decisions in relation to AS Aqua Marina, specifically on August 8 and September 19, 2017.

Regarding conduct of procedures and adoption of decisions in relation to AS Aqua Marina on August 8, 2017 and September 19, 2017, the regulations adopted at the meeting of the city government had no financial value. 

Considering the above, the aforementioned acts contain elements of a misdemeanor. However, since more than three years has passed since the commission of both acts, the court should terminate the criminal proceeding regarding these acts. As the opening of a misdemeanor proceeding is therefore no longer possible, Semilarski has to be acquitted on those charges, the court said. 

In addition, the court ordered the state to compensate Semilarski for the amount of €46,476.37 paid by him to his attorney. Semilarski meanwhile has to pay €876 into the state budget in procedural costs. 

The court dismissed an application for Semilarski to be compensated for damage incurred by him due to the unreasonable length of proceedings.

The judgment has not entered into force and can be appealed within seven days.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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