Gallery: Court to consider releasing businessman Hillar Teder from custody ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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The Tallinn Circuit Court on Tuesday will discuss the possible release of Estonian businessman Hillar Teder, suspected of corruption crimes, from custody.

Sworn advocates Erki Kergandberg and Sandra-Kristin Karner are of the opinion that the suspicion lodged against Teder is incomprehensible and that his placement into custody is also disproportionate.

"The suspicion lodged against Hillar Teder is surprising and incomprehensible. We are actively investigating the circumstances in order to understand the reasons for the blame," Kergandberg told BNS two weeks ago.

"We have filed an appeal against the arrest of Hillar Teder because we consider such an arrest to be a clearly disproportionate and unusual reaction," the lawyer said then.

Chief State Prosecutor Taavi Pern told BNS then that the prosecutor's office does not agree with the position of the defense counsel. "In our opinion, the lodging of a suspicion and the arrest of the suspect is justified and the county court also agreed with our position," he said.

The Harju County Court on Jan. 14 granted the application by the Office of the Prosecutor General seeking for businessman Hillar Teder and adviser to the minister of finance Kersti Kracht, who were arrested as suspects in a corruption case by the Internal Security Service on Tuesday that week, to be taken into custody.

Pursuant to the court ruling, Teder and Kracht have been placed in custody for up to two months for the time being.

Teder and Kracht were apprehended among others as suspects in possible corruption crimes relating to the Porto Franco real estate development on Jan. 12, and suspicions were also brought against a senior partner in the government coalition Center Party as a legal person and Center's secretary general Mihhail Korb,

Teder and Korb are suspected of influence peddling. According to the suspicion, Teder and Korb colluded that Teder is to donate up to one million euros to the Center Party before the local government elections and in return, the Porto Franco development would be permitted to build an exit route on a property of the City of Tallinn. The Center Party is being suspected of influence peddling as a legal person.

Besides, according to the suspicion, Teder and Kracht agreed that the latter as an adviser to the minister of finance would contribute towards a favorable decision for Teder in terms of a large loan sought for the Porto Franco real estate development through crisis aid measures from the state-run Kredex foundation. Teder and Kracht are also suspected of concluding a money laundering agreement to conceal the giving of a bribe to the latter. 

In addition, two entrepreneurs have been declared suspects in several criminal offenses in connection with the same case. 

Oliver Naas, the lawyer defending Kersti Kracht, has affirmed to BNS the intention to contest Kracht's placement into custody.

This article was updated to include a gallery of the Harju County Court hearing in process.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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