Businessman Margus Linnamäe bankrolled former interior minister Katri Raik's Narva local government campaign to the tune of €10,000, ERR reports, while total donations, at €60,000, were higher than those issued to any other electoral alliance campaign.
Raik, who was already mayor of the eastern Estonian town with the Social Democrats (SDE) opted to run her own electoral list in October's local elections, and confirmed she had approached Linnamäe, whose concerns include daily Postimees and newswire service BNS, asking for financial support.
"I promised him the development of Narva as an Estonian city," Raik said, adding that she had promised Linnamäe nothing beyond that.
The vast majority of Narva's inhabitants speak Russian as their first language.
Raik's electoral list received €60,000 in donations in total, with €8,888 coming from businesswoman Anastasija Beresneva, and €5,000 from Heiti Hääl.
While electoral alliances are a key facet of Estonia's local elections and municipal governance, forming as they do an alternative to the mainstream parties and often polling higher than them, no electoral alliance received donations as high as Raik's, while Linnamäe's gift was the largest single donation across the campaign as a whole.
Linnamäe's "traditional" main political beneficiary has been Isamaa, which has been the recipient of over half the €160,000 the businessman has provided in recent years, ERR reports.
In addition to the Postimees Group, Linnamäe's business interests include pharmaceuticals wholesaler MM Group and the Apollo cinema and entertainment chain. One of his companies is also franchisee of KFC in Estonia.
Katri Raik first became Narva mayor with SDE exactly a year ago to the day, but lost a vote of no-confidence in August. She ran in the October local elections with her own list as noted, and returned as mayor.
Editor: Andrew Whyte