Tallinn Mayor also questioned in Porto Franco investigation

Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) at Toompea when Jüri Ratas resigned as prime minister early morning Wednesday.
Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) at Toompea when Jüri Ratas resigned as prime minister early morning Wednesday. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) has been questioned in regard to a real estate loan scandal which led to the resignation of Jüri Ratas (Center) as prime minister early on Wednesday. Tallinn City Government's offices have also been subject of a search by the Internal Security Service (ISS).

Speaking to ETV morning show "Terevisioon" Wednesday, Kõlvart said the investigation and case had been a surprise to him.

Kõlvart said: "Procedural acts, including searches, have also been carried out in the city government, including at the mayor's office," adding that he had had to give testimony to investigators.

Five people are suspects in the ISS investigation reported Tuesday afternoon over the circumstances of a €39-million loan given to the Porto Franco real estate development in Tallinn.

Businessman Hillar Teder, whose son, Rauno Teder is majority shareholder in Porto Franco, is suspected of having reached agreement with Center's Secretary-General Mihhail Korb on facilitating access routes to the development, in Tallinn's harbor district, along in return for a €1 million donation to Center. Hillar Teder is also a suspect in the investigation.

Kõlvart told "Terevisioon" he had talked to Korb, who resigned as Center Party Secretary-General Tuesday afternoon, about the issue and Korb had denied trying to influence anyone. Kõlvart said that he had not been subject to influence either.

The mayor added he had not yet had time to investigate the issue of the access routes referred to in the investigation, but would start dealing with it on Wednesday.

Questions on the matter had been raised at the city government, he said, adding more information was needed.

The other suspects in the investigation are adviser to finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) Kersti Kracht, and two unnamed individuals.

Teder reportedly donated €60,000 to Center in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020), and the same amount in Q4 2020.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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