Entrepreneur Parvel Pruunsild donated a total of €1 million to three opposition parties; however, the executive board of the Center Party decided on Thursday to return 300,000 given to them, Delfi reports.
The vote was held and the Center Party decided to return the total amount, the news portal wrote.
"Mihhail Kõlvart and his supporters backed the proposition; apparently, they wanted to distance themselves from the previous opposition administration [EKRE, Isamaa, Center]. Moreover, they wanted to avoid receiving funding from a magnate who is currently under investigation," Delfi wrote.
The Prosecutor's Office has filed charges of procedural restrictions violations against Pruunsild and the former deputy mayor of Tartu, Priit Humal (Isamaa). According to the ISS, Pruunsild had exerted pressure on Humal to persuade the city to forego the purchase right of the former Estonian National Museum (ERM) building. In response to the suspicions, Humal submitted his resignation; however, both Pruunsild and Humal assert their innocence.
Kõlvart told the portal that the Center Party is in a situation where it is possible to derive conclusions from this donation that have existential significance for the party, both politically and legally.
"First, we must acknowledge that the party has criminal record and the fact that the donor is also a party to criminal proceedings is a fact, not an opinion. Secondly, every major party scandal, as well as all legal proceedings involve donations," he explained.
Jaanus Karilaid, deputy chair of the Center Party, said that there is a strong conflict within the party: "Kõlvart determined to torpedo the development of the party led by Jüri Ratas."
Pruunsild supported Isamaa with €400,000 and EKRE with €300,000. In the past, Pruunsild has also provided substantial financial support to Isamaa, to which he belongs.
The entrepreneur told the daily Postimees that he wanted to use the money to support political parties that understand the importance of increasing the family allowances.
"After all, when the government coalition cut family benefits, these three parties were clearly on the other side of the argument - what else shows who understands the issue and who does not?!" he said.
Pruunsild said that the contribution came from Bigbank dividends, so it was his own money. He added that he had no intention of asking the political parties what they do with the funds.
"I sincerely hope that these parties have the stamina to maintain these [pro-birth] positions for a long time to come," he added.
This article has been updated to include comments from Pruunsild.
Editor: Kristina Kersa