Estonia's new Minister of Rural Affairs Martin Repinski pledged on Friday to eliminate the issues connected to his businesses but ruled out stepping down from his new position.
"Why should I resign?" Repinski asked at a Friday press conference. "I have behaved correctly as minister. I have behaved in accordance with the law as a businessman."
The newly appointed minister admitted that his companies were experiencing financial problems as well as difficulties with settling their bills, but maintained that the problems were not big ones.
He also said that his employees had been paid correctly, although not always in due time.
Repinski provided explanations as well regarding recent media claims that his Konju Farm was selling goat cheese imported from the Netherlands, stating that he had never sold it as cheese produced by his own farm but rather had used it with customers' knowledge to fill a major order, find out customers' taste preferences and develop his own technology.
He stated that he intends to solve his companies' problems within a few months and then retire from management.
"I would like to announce that I have decided to withdraw from the management boards of Konju Goat Farm and other companies and nonprofits," he told reporters, adding, however, that he would retain ownership of and remain connected with the businesses.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas restated his position on Thursday that Repinski must promptly address the emerged scandal involving his goat farming business and provide answers to any questions asked.
The Minister of Rural Affairs, a member of the Central Party together with the prime minister, is facing allegations that his company has sold Dutch goat cheese under the guise of domestically produced cheese, inaccurately labeled cheese packaging as well as behaved inappropriately in financial affairs in connection with his businesses.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla