Prime minister appears before Riigikogu anti-corruption committee

Kaja Kallas appearing before the Riigikogu's anti-corruption select committee, Monday, September 4, 2023. Committee chair Mart Helme is at left.
Kaja Kallas appearing before the Riigikogu's anti-corruption select committee, Monday, September 4, 2023. Committee chair Mart Helme is at left. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) is on Monday morning appearing before a Riigikogu anti-corruption committee, following several days in which she had declined to do so in the aftermath of controversy relating to a company which her husband had had a stake in.

ERR reported that appearing before the Riigikogu's Anti-Corruption Select Committee, one of two select committee's which had summonsed her, was on the prime minister's agenda for Monday morning.

The prime minister is in fact appearing before the committee at the time of writing (pictured).

The Riigikogu anti-corruption committee, headed by Mart Helme (EKRE), is according to its own schedule examining the prime minister's "property, income and interest declarations."

The Prime Minister's official schedule noted that on Monday she is taking part in the committee session, running 10-11 a.m. Estonian time.

She will also appear at a coalition council session running from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.

The anti-corruption committee may opt to declare the session public if a quorum of over 50 percent of committee members is attained – this indeed happened and ERR carried the session live (link in Estonian).

The prime minister had previously twice refused to come to a Riigikogu State Budget Control Select Committee session, indicating that he would be represented in this matter by the Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (reform).

Last Tuesday, the prime minister also failed to participate in a joint sitting of the anti-corruption and state budget committees, where the same topic was on the itinerary, ie. her husband's business dealings and more specifically in relation to a company which had been providing transport services to a company exporting manufactured items into Russia.

She announced last Wednesday that she would appear before the anti-corruption committee at a time and date of her choosing.

The anti-corruption committee comprises Tõnis Mölder (Center Party), Priit Sibul (Isamaa) Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform, committee vice-chairman), Irja Lutsar (Eesti 200) and Eduard Odinets (SDE), in addition to committee chair Helme.

Kallas' husband, Arvo Hallik, until recently held a 24.8 percent stake in a logistics firm, Stark Logistics, which had been transporting aerosol can parts on behalf of a company called Metaprint, into Russia. Metaprint, Stark Logistics and the Russian-registered company are all related firms in any case; the main issue revolved around why this activity was going on down to the present, 18 months after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, throughout which time Kallas had called for disengagement from doing business with Russia.

Assembled aerosol cans are subject to EU sanctions put in place on Russia, but the disassembled components are not.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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