State secretary tasked with Porto Franco inquiry committee
The government has tasked state secretary Taimar Peterkop with setting up a committee of inquiry into the circumstances of a loan granted to a Tallinn real estate development by state credit agency KredEx. Revelations Tuesday that KredEx was subject to a security services investigation, with the Center Party's secretary-general named one of five suspects, directly led to Jüri Ratas' (Center) resignation as prime minister.
The state secretary heads up the government office; following the announcement, he must set up the committee by a week today, Thursday, January 21.
KredEx issued a €39-million loan to Porto Franco in September 2020, but allegations of bribery and influence peddling which emerged on Tuesday and were directly linked to the ruling Center Party prompted Ratas' resignation in the small hours of Wednesday.
While justification for the loan revolved around it being needed as a precursor to obtaining an European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) loan, the latter offer expired after the Estonian state neglected to act on it.
Porto Franco is currently a construction site, with some buildings more-or-less finished from an external perspective; the project, which will combine retail, office, residential and leisure space close to Tallinn's harbor area when it opens, is majority-owned by Rauno Teder, the son of businessman Hillar Teder, who is one of those named as suspects.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte