Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says that her signature on the contract with which she loaned €350,000 to her husband Arvo Hallik's company Novaria Consult is dated February 3, 2022, because the bank requested changes to the document actually first signed on January 5.
Riigikogu Anti-Corruption Select Committee chair Tõnis Mölder (Center) told ERR on Tuesday that the prime minister had digitally signed the loan agreement with Novaria Consult, a company owned by her husband Arvo Hallik, on February 3, 2022.
This means that the contract was signed just a few days after Kallas had as Estonia's head of government visited Metaprint, whose owner Martti Lemendik is the majority owner of Stark Logistics — a company involved in a scandal over haulage to Russia — and Hallik's business partner.
According to Kallas, however, that's not true. She wrote in a social media post on Wednesday that the loan contract has a later digital signature than the date of the contract itself.
"There is a simple and trivial explanation for this," the prime minister wrote. "I signed the loan contract with Novaria Consult on January 5, 2022. The text of the contract ended up containing a couple of typos, which were caught later by the bank. At the bank's request, we fixed those mistakes, and resigned the contract on February 3, 2022."
Thus, she said, this was the same contract first concluded on January 5.
"The date of the conclusion of the contract is indicated as January 5, 2022 in the contract text as well," Kallas highlighted. "I transferred the loan amount to Novaria Consult on January 6, 2022. It's as simple as that."
She added that to verify her statement, she sent the initial contract file including the digital signatures dated January 5, 2022, to the Riigikogu's Anti-Corruption Select Committee as well.
"I gave my husband's management company a loan for investment purposes," Kallas said. "The loan I gave has no connection whatsoever to Metaprint's business activity and [my] visit to Metaprint on January 28, 2022. All such connections are arbitrary and are deliberately trying to paint a distorted picture."
The prime minister said that there are politicians who generate artificial connections, manipulate facts and make claims that have nothing to do with real life, but it's not worth making something out of nothing.
ERR reached out to Kaja Kallas on Tuesday, asking why she signed a loan contract with Novaria Consult a few days after visiting Metaprint, why the company made its final loan payment back to her just after ERR had shown interest in her husband's business activity, and how does she explain the discrepancy in contract dates between what she said and what Tõnis Mölder said.
As of Wednesday morning, Kallas hadn't responded. Prompted by interim developments, ERR further asked whether the prime minister, in the interests of better public clarity, wouldn't perhaps like to publish the entire loan agreement together with the exact dates and details of the loan's disbursements and repayments, and whether the loan agreement also included any conditions on the use of the loan.
The public broadcaster likewise wanted to know whether the prime minister was aware when loaning this money that her spouse co-owned a business together with Metaprint owner Martti Lemendik.
In response,, the Prime Minister's Office sent ERR the same text cited above, which Kaja Kallas had posted on social media that morning.
Kallas has loaned Novaria Consult money on more than one occasion, including in the sum of €22,000 in addition to the €350,000 in question. The Estonian prime minister has previously stated that she has yet to receive back the former sum.
Arvo Hallik has stated that with the help of the now-repaid loan and its remaining capital, Novaria Consult made various financial investments, but that the nature of these investments has never been a topic of conversation between himself and Kallas.
Editor: Aili Vahtla