ERJK terminates alleged Isamaa illicit party donation investigation

Urmas Reinsalu.
Urmas Reinsalu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The political financing watchdog body in Estonia has decided to wrap up an investigation into an alleged illegal party donation to the Isamaa party ahead of the 2021 local elections, on the grounds that the alleged donor has admitted culpability, and will return the funds, which total a little over €400, from his own pocket.

The Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK) has concluded a procedure that investigated Reinsalu's campaign expenses at the October 2021 local government elections, and with it any potential receipt of a prohibited donation from Isamaa member Tõnis Palts

The allegation had it that Palts allegedly paid individuals money to conduct over-the-phone canvassing in favor of Isamaa, and more specifically Reinsalu, a former foreign minister, but ahead of the permissible campaigning period.

This would qualify as a prohibited donation.

Palts' admission that the campaign expenses incurred by his company were improper and willingness to bear the costs were sufficient for the ERJK to wrap up proceedings, the committee said.

The campaigning took place in July, while Palts said that Reinsalu was unaware that it was taking place.

Palts said he paid three teleworkers to make phone calls, at his company's expense, and was unaware that such payment was not permitted under the regulations.

ERJK vice-chair Kaarel Tarand said in July that if it transpires that the work constituted a prohibited donation, its cost must be returned and the beneficiary must indicate this in the report. No other consequences would apply.

Palts said he will return the total sum of €420 from his own personal funds, to his company, Pambos Holding OÜ.

The procedure has been terminated in respect of Isamaa and of Reinsalu, in addition to Palts.


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Editor: Grete-Liina Roosvee, Andrew Whyte

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