Minister: Accusations of blocking Isamaa donor's private phone call untrue

Lauri Läänemets.
Lauri Läänemets. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Internal Security Service (ISS) did not stop businessman and Isamaa donor Parvel Pruunsild from making a private phone during a raid at his home last week, Minister of Interior Lauri Lauri Läänemets (SDE) said on Monday.

The ISS suspects Tartu Deputy Mayor Priit Humal of violating procedural restrictions on a grand scale and businessman Pruunsild of aiding and abetting. Both are members of the Isamaa party.

Läänemets faced questions over the service's actions by Riigikogu members after lawyer Paul Keres sharply criticized the procedural steps taken by the ISS last week during the raid.

Jürgen Ligi (Reform), chairman of the Riigikogu's Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee, said this raised questions, and on Monday the committee discussed the issue with the minister.

Questions arose from Pruunsild's statement, if the suspicions against him are politically motivated, and the procedural steps taken.

The minister denied accusations from Keres that Pruunsild was not allowed to call him.

Priit Humal (left) and Parvel Pruunsild. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR; Tairo Lutter/POSTIMEES

Läänemets also denied there is any politically motivated activity related to the case.

"The Internal Security Service does not share information when it is conducting an investigation with a minister of a political party about people associated with another political party. We all handle these procedural matters separately. I assured the committee that it [the procedure] is exactly the same now as it has been in the past, there is no place for it. Politicians and ministers are not allowed to interfere in the activities of such an investigation, it is prohibited by law. That has not been the case," said the minister.

"There was also a question about whether he could not call his lawyer. The truth is that it was allowed. After the detention, there was an opportunity to make a call. There were some procedural questions. Sometimes the question is which phone to call because when it comes to the phone, which is also physical evidence, in the past, there have been situations where someone tries to remove something from the phone instead of making a call, for example. But you could call and talk privately. That's what the Internal Security Service told me," said Läänemets.

Ligi told ERR committee members saw no need to invite an ISS representative to explain the agency's actions.

Paul Keres. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Keres told ERR he had not claimed that Pruunsild could not make a phone call but that ISS' officials had tried to prevent it.

"I had to persuade them for quite a few minutes. It took about six to seven minutes in total, but even then they were very reluctant to do it. I also have a partial recording of that telephone conversation, with the phone on speakerphone mode, between myself, two officers from the Police and Parvel Pruunsild, and the substance of the conversation was that we wanted to talk to each other. And we were told that you can talk to each other exactly as it is now, that is, on the loudspeaker and in the presence of the officers of the Internal Security Service." Keres said.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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