The Office of the Prosecutor General on Friday charged former adviser to the finance minister Kersti Kracht, entrepreneur Hillar Teder and two other persons (73-year-old Toomas and 54-year-old Jüri) with numerous corruption offenses and sent the case to court.
The prosecution accuses Kracht of three separate corruption offenses. She is charged with requesting and accepting a bribe on a large scale from Toomas who has been charged with offering a bribe on a large scale.
Kracht also stands accused of requesting a large-scale bribe from Hillar Teder, charged with promising a large-scale bribe. Teder, Kracht and Jüri are charged with agreeing to launder money in connection with said offenses, with the latter also charged with aiding in large-scale bribery.
Kracht is also accused of violating procedural restrictions on a massive scale. According to the charges, Kracht, while working as adviser to the finance minister, was involved in making decisions that benefited a company while owing the said company money.
Jüri has also been charged with illegal handling of a firearm.
Chief State Prosecutor Taavi Pärn said that the accused have been charged with a plethora of offenses. Most concern influencing decisions tied to coronavirus crisis support measures in exchange for bribes. Several anti-corruption organizations had highlighted risks associated with the benefits in question.
The charges suggest entrepreneurs promised and offered bribes in business interests, including promoting said interests through various support schemes in the conditions of the crisis. The motives of the former adviser to the finance minister in requesting and accepting bribes were also rooted in financial difficulties, the charges suggest," Pern said.
The part that concerns a Tallinn easement to benefit OÜ Porto Franco has been separated from the case sent to court on Friday. Suspicions have been brought against the Center Party, its former secretary general Mihhail Korb and Hillar Teder in that case. The prosecution is preparing charges.
Pre-trial proceedings were handled by the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) on behalf of the prosecution.
ERR approached Kersti Kracht for comment but could not reach her over the phone. Hillar Teder said that he will not plead guilty.
Editor: Marcus Turovski