Former interior minister bribery allegations concern real estate firm
ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) shed more light Thursday evening on a recent suspected bribery case involving a former interior minister. The alleged bribe was intended to speed up the bankruptcy proceedings of a real estate firm, which had already been dragging on for over three years, allegedly so the former minister, Ain Seppik, and his associates, could take control of the firm.
Prosecutor Sigrid Nurm told AK that: "We have detained three people for giving bribes, and one for facilitating bribery." The three referred to are businessman Ain Seppik, who was interior minister 20 years ago, and his two sons, Sulev and Siim.
The individual under suspicion of being facilitator of the bribe is Indrek Raudsepp, a board member of a real estate company called Hexanor – the company whose bankruptcy was being processed.
ERR reports that so far as it is aware, the bribe was offered to bankruptcy trustee Martin Krupp, totaling €100,000, of which €25,000 has allegedly already been transferred.
Krupp told AK he could not comment further on the issue of bribery. "I cannot confirm or refute any of the allegations," Krupp said.
ERR unsuccessfully attempted through the course of Thursday to contact Ain Seppik, though Seppik did tell portal Delfi (link in Estonian) that the suspicion was without grounds.
The Hexanor bankruptcy proceedings had been protracted and controversial, AK reported, with Krupp putting the time-scale at three years.
The company has no realizable assets, AK reported, while receivables have been put at €33 million – though this is mostly disputed; Krupp stated that €6.5 million is owed to SEB bank, with the rest constituting claims against Hexanor by companies controlled by the Seppiks – which Krupp said was a strategy for taking control of said proceedings.
Krupp, who was appointed trustee in the fall of 2018 when Hexanor was declared bankrupt, added that he could not say when the proceedings might end.
Ain Seppik, interior minister 2002-2003, was detained Tuesday along with his sons Siim and Sulev, and Indrek Raudsepp.
Ain and Siim Seppik have reportedly since been released; Sulev Seppik and Indrek Raudsepp were reportedly still in detention as of Thursday.
Ain Seppik was an MP after being a minister, through to 2011. He was in the Center Party while minister and while sitting at the Riigikogu, and joined the Reform Party in 2013.
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Andrew Whyte