Center Party MP Siret Kotka divested herself of three properties in August, which she had allegedly used to obtain undeclared rental income. Kotka had also allegedly been claiming expenses for several years in respect of a rental property – this time one in which she is a tenant – in Tallinn, rather than residing in any of four apartments that she has reportedly owned during that time.
A piece appearing in investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress Wednesday reported (link in Estonian) that Kotka had claimed on Riigikogu expenses to pay the rent on an apartment she lived in, while simultaneously owning four apartments in the capital – three as a private individual and one via a company which she is owner of.
While three properties were sold in August, Kotka reportedly remains owner of one more apartment in Tallinn.
In 2016, Kotka bought an apartment on J. Vilmsi 31 in Kadriorg, east of the city center, which she still owns. She bought three more apartments in August 2020.
Whether the apartments housed tenants or not during that time, Kotka has declined to say, following the publication of the Eesti Ekspress article.
Forton OÜ, founded over a decade ago and owned by Kotka, is listed in the business register as engaged in real estate rentals, and reported a 2021 turover of €5,505, a profit of €1,092 and fixed assets of €87,280.
While this company owned one of the four apartments mentioned above, another Kotka company, Forton Apartments OÜ, is also engaged in real estate rentals.
The latter company was founded two years ago, the same year that the three most recently-purchased apartment were bought.
This company has no fixed assets and owns no properties, but turned over €24,927 last year and cleared €14.042 in profits.
Whether this income was from rentals from the apartments Kotka owned was not clear from the annual report from last year, ERR reports.
At the end of May this year, Kotka declared ownership of three Tallinn apartments, along with liabilities in the form of three mortgages, valued at 74,184, 51,349 and 25,009 respectively.
The three apartments Kotka sold in August were located at Liiikuri 18c/Võidujooksu 7, in the Liikuri quarter development, near the Lasnamäe district.
On of the three apartments was purchased by Forton OÜ.
Estonian current law and Riigikogu regulations state that MPs whose ordinary place of residence is outside of Tallinn and the municipalities immediately adjacent to it, may claim housing benefit, ie. the benefit Kotka was claiming for the rental apartment she lives in in town.
Siret Kotka, formerly Siret Kotka-Repinski, said that she had been living at the rental property, as a single mother, as a result of being harassed, though, ERR reports, the harassment case only came to light in spring 2020, some time after she had started living at the rental property.
Kotka has denied receiving rental income as a private person.
Kotka's ex-husband, Martin Repinski, also a Center Party MP, allegedly has also been engaged in a similar scheme, Eesti Ekspress reports.
Editor: Andrew Whyte