Former environment minister Marko Pomerants is a lobbyist in Estonia for Russian energy giant Gazprom, daily Postimees reports, and says his actions are legally and ethically justifiable.
"I consider it correct to protect the interests of Estonia as a maritime nation," Pomerants, who acts on behalf of Gazprom in his work for PR firm Powerhouse, told Postimees, as reported by its English-language portal, a line which authorities in Estonia have confirmed, the paper reports.
"Enterprises which can operate in Estonia should be able to share the opportunities of a maritime nation," Pomerants said, noting that: "The Estonian state should decide whether the companies of an owner are banned or not," - at present vessels sailing under the Russian flag are sanctioned but not those sailing under many other countries' flags.
As to the nature of some of the actual lobbying work, Postimees reported that companies transporting petroleum products, including one firm owned by Russia's Gazprom Neft, want extra anchorages from the Estonian state for servicing tankers, and are upset about the banning of Ship-to-Ship transfers at 13 anchorages, including those within a protected area near Paldiski.
More bunker areas are required, one industry spokesperson, Andres Lukin, whose firm operates the Estonian-flagged EAST tanker, which regularly travels between Tallinn and St. Petersburg, told Postimees, with only one current location offering truly suitable conditions, and tanker congestion in those functioning anchorage presenting risk of collision.
The original Postimees piece is here.
Pomerants, 57, was Isamaa (formerly IRL) environment minister 2015-2017 under two prime ministers, Taavi Rõivas (Reform) and Jüri Ratas (Center), and was also interior minister 2009-2011. Since stepping down from politics, his lobby work with Powerhouse, in which he is in business with two other former government ministers, Janek Mäggi and Andres Anvelt, has conducted lobby work on behalf of controversial Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.
Editor: Andrew Whyte