Parmas: Prosecutor leaving will not sink Port of Tallinn trial

Andres Parmas.
Andres Parmas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Prosecutor General Andres Parmas said that case prosecutor Denis Tšasovskih's decision to quit will not affect the Port of Tallinn trial from where the prosecution is standing. Parmas holds the court system responsible for slow progress.

Parmas told "Aktuaalne kaamera" that while it constitutes additional work, the Prosecutor's Office will replace Tšasovskih and the trial will not get stuck behind them.

Eesti Ekspress reported that the Port of Tallinn case prosecutor Denis Tšasovskih plans to quit the prosecution.

The defenders in April moved for termination in the Port of Tallinn criminal case due to the limitation period and sensible time of proceedings having passed. Tšasovskih said at the time that the prosecution remained adamant that the limitation period had not yet passed for the defendants and in turn accused the latter and their counsels for the case dragging on.

Parmas also said that the defense has worked to stall proceedings, while the main fault lies with the courts whose task it is to ensure sensible time of proceedings.

"It is our position that the case will go on and the prosecution will not be an obstacle here," the prosecutor general remarked.

Sworn lawyer Paul Keres, representing former Port of Tallinn CEO Ain Kaljurand, told ERR that the prosecution will lose a strong prosecutor in Tšasovskih, while he is sure they will find an equally capable replacement.

Keres added that he would like to know whether the prosecution is prepared to stick to the recent timeline, adding that the Port of Tallinn case stands on very weak legs and should have come crashing down some time ago.

Keres said that the circuit court recently ruled on limitation where it found that bribery charges are virtually past the limitation period if qualified properly. "The court said that the defense's treatment of qualification is correct, meaning that we are dealing with private sector bribery where the limitation period is five years, which has come and gone."

But Tšasovskih said in April that the prosecution is convinced the case concerns public sector bribery.

Viivika Siplane, press representative for the Harju County Court, told ERR that the change of prosecutor needs to be handled by the Office of the Prosecutor General post haste, which shouldn't be a problem as an assistant prosecutor has been present.

Court sessions are set to continue on September 4, 2023, she remarked.

Port of Tallinn case

The Port of Tallinn criminal case got started in 2015 and reach the court in 2019. The case had to basically start from scratch in April of this year when one of the lay judges dropped out due to illness.

In the summer of 2015, the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS or KAPO) arrested Allan Kiil and Ain Kaljurand who had taken bribes on a grand scale as members of the board of the state-owned port over ten years. According to the charges, Kiil was offered nearly €3 million in bribes by representatives of shipyards in Turkey and Poland for the contracts for Estonia's island ferries.

The case of Kiil was dropped in October 2020 after he took ill and was no longer able to attend the trial. Kiil died in June of last year.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Marcus Turovski

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