The names have been released of several other suspects placed under suspicion of corruption in the eastern Estonian town of Kohtla-Järve following a Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) swoop on Tuesday. The names include the city's council chair, Tiit Lillemets (Center).
The city council's vice-chair Maria Merkulova, council economic committee chairman Deniss Veršinin (Center) and social committee chairman Anton Dijev (Center) are also under suspicion, ERR's Russian-language portal reports, as are deputy mayors Vitali Borodin (Reform) and Aljona Kazakova (Center) though some suspects have already been released from questioning., it is reported.
Borodin is also chair of the Kohtla-Järve region's branch of the Reform Party.
On Tuesday, PPA detained businessman Nikolai Ossipenko and eight people from the Kohtla-Järve city government and council, as well as two people related to Ossipenko and all of whom are under suspicion of the offering or taking of bribes and/or of influence peddling.
While the other suspects should all be released in the near future, the prosecutor's office has requested Ossipenko's arrest (which must be granted by a court – ed.).
Firms associated with Ossipenko had been offered various services to the municipalities in Ida-Viru County, while he and people he is associated with have also been active in municipal politics.
This is not the first time Ossipenko has been under investigation; a decade ago, a court found that a company he owned, N&V had received nearly a million euros in income described as of criminal origin.
While then-Mayor of Kohtla-Järve, Jevgeni Solovjov, was convicted as a result, Ossipenko escaped trial on health grounds.
All told, around a 10 people are under investigation following Tuesday's swoop This is a preliminary suspicion that may change during the criminal proceedings.
Editor: Andrew Whyte