EKRE MP charged with expenses fraud

Kert Kingo (EKRE).
Kert Kingo (EKRE). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP Kert Kingo has been charged with fraud, following an Internal Security Service (ISS) investigation which began in March.

Investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress (link in Estonian) writes that Kingo allegedly paid the legal bills of three separate people, to a total of close to €10,000, and put it on expenses.

Lawyer Martin Traat is charged with aiding and abetting the fraud and with falsifying documents.

Kingo, a former government minister, confirmed to Eesti Ekspres on Friday that he has been charged with fraud by an official and the use of a forged document, rejecting the charges as "absolutely baseless" and plucked out of thin air, adding that both the ISS and the Prosecutor's Office have overstepped their competence in the matter.

The Riigikogu office is the only body which can control and check MPs' expense allowances, and that regulations have it that if an MP does not use expenses allowances for their intended purpose, the penalty is simply to repay that amount.

Kingo added that she had both used her expenses allowance for its intended purpose, and had not earned any additional income as a result of the activities.

Kingo and Traat became suspects in relation to criminal activity relating to the use of an MP's expenses allowance in august, after the ISS had started a criminal investigation in May, based on materials sent by the Riigikogu's own anti-corruption select committee of the Riigikogu

The investigation focused on possible embezzlement by Kingo and forgery by Traat.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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