Two more names have been added to the list of suspects involved in the corruption scandal, which broke out in Kohtla-Järve, Ida-Viru County in October, bringing the total to 19.
While, the 17 suspects named in the corruption case before now had all been linked to Kohtla-Järve, Natalja Šibalova, who is the latest to be added to the list is acting director of the Narva city administration' architecture and urban planning department.
On Thursday, searches were carried out at Šibalova's home as well as on the premises of the Narva city administration. Šibalova, who is a member of the Center Party, has previously served as deputy mayor of Narva and also briefly as Narva Mayor.
Viru District Prosecutor Alan Rüütel confirmed, that Šibalova is suspected of having accepted a bribe from Kohtla-Järve businessman Nikolai Ossipenko. However, further details regarding the investigation, including the amount of the alleged bribe, cannot be disclosed at such an early stage.
Rüütel did confirm, that the suspicions relate to Šibalova's work in the city administration and not to her company Jurconsul OÜ.
ERR repeatedly tried to reach Natalia Šibalova on Thursday to request her comments on the issue, however her telephone was switched off.
One other person was also charged on Thursday in relation with the case, however, as they are not a public figure, their name was not disclosed by the Prosecutor's Office.
In October, 17 people were declared suspects in an alleged corruption ring in Kohtla-Järve which effectively sees the city's politics, governance and much of its business run by local businessman Nikolai Ossipenko. Most of the suspects were members of the Kohtla-Järve city council or city government employees.
The alleged corruption activities mainly involve the giving and taking of bribes, and influence peddling, in relation to various service contracts and procurements in the city and its environs.
In early November, Nikolai Ossipenko was taken into custody for a period of two months.
Editor: Michael Cole