A part of a €350,000 loan issued earlier in the year by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) to a company owned by her husband, Arvo Hallik, went towards founding a warehousing company linked to controversy over the continued conducting of business with, and in, Russia, over 18 months after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) reports.
As reported by ERR News earlier in the summer, Kallas had loaned Hallik, via his company Novaria Consult, €350,000 for "investment purposes," with Hallik intimating that this in fact involved a residential property to be constructed in Kuusalu, near Tallinn; the prime minister contradicted this in interviews given to the media Monday, stating that Novaria had no business activity relating to construction.
Reports last week that Stark Logistics, a company Hallik had a 24.8 percent stake in, had continued to transport manufactured items to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine which started in February 2022, and in fact down to the present, makes it of public interest whether any of the €350,000 the prime minister loaned to Hallik had been used in financing any of Stark's activities, EPL notes.
Furthermore, Hallik retains a stake in another company, Stark Warehousing, which he co-owns with Martti Lemendik – the owner of Metaprint, whose manufactured products – mostly components which go into the making of aerosol cans – were being transported to Russia by Stark Logistics; Lemendik has a stake in the latter company also.
In response to EPL's inquiries about the loan, Hallik said he had borrowed it via Novaria Consult in order to make various investments, including those to be used in setting up Stark Warehousing.
Hallik via Novaria has a 30 percent stake in Stark Warehousing, which he currently retains, and the prime minister's husband is also a board member of Stark Warehousing, EPL reports.
In short, EPL notes the commonality in ownership of Stark Warehousing, Stark Logistics and AS Metaprint.
Hallik issued a statement Friday noting that he was selling his share in Stark Logistics, adding that, among other things, his company Novaria had made "various financial investments with the help of the loan provided by Kallas, and the rest of the capital – but the content of these investments has never been a topic of mutual conversation."
ERR had asked Hallik Monday if he planned to also forgo his stake in Stark Warehousing, but had not received an answer at the time of writing.
The prime minister said Monday that the Stark Logistics stake had been sold for a peppercorn sum, but would not disclose to the media what that sum was.
The prime minister had been in the forefront, internationally, of calling for a tough line on Russia and its occupation of Ukraine, including the need to disengage from all business with Russian companies.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi