EKRE Chairman: Sending Tibar to US is in interest of money launderers

EKRE leader Martin Helme.
EKRE leader Martin Helme. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Former Minister of Finance and chairman of EKRE Martin Helme said that appointing Indrek Tibar, Swedbank's head of financial crime prevention, to the be U.S. judicial attache is in the interests of money launderers. Helme said this hinders investigations in the U.S.and Estonia will lose money in imposing fines.

"This is a bank, which is under investigation both in Estonia and in the U.S. in relation to a suspicion of a huge amount of black Russian money," Helme said.

The previous government decided to create this position with the aim of intensifying anti-money laundering cooperation with the United States but Helme said that Tibar has a conflict of interest in the new position. 

"Now the Estonian state is sending a person to the U.S. to cooperate on anti-money laundering, who still works at the bank under investigation as the head of supervision in the area under investigation. In essence, the Estonian government and prosecutor's office are showing the middle finger to the U.S. authorities," he said.

In Helme's opinion, the purpose of sending Tibar is to ensure that useful information from Estonia does not reach the U.S. investigation.

"In addition, the definite consequence is that we must now wipe our mouths clean when imposing any fines. It is probably what's wanted, then they can say, Helme lied when he said we will get some money to our state budget when we cooperate," he wrote.

The task of the judicial attache is to represent and defend the interests of the Estonian state in large-scale money-laundering investigations in order to participate in the distribution of fines in the future.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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