The Porto Franco criminal case was an artificially engineered scandal used to execute a coup, Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) chair Martin Helme said Wednesday, commenting on Harju County Court's acquittal of all three defendants in the case.
"Will [former Center chair] Jüri Ratas now become prime minister again and the Center-EKRE-Isamaa government return to office?" Helme wrote in a statement. "Will the intervening three years of Kaja Kallas' horrorshow and the decisions made during that time become null and void or be canceled out? After all, the court ruled that no laws have been broken in Porto Franco! Ergo, there was no reason for the government to fall (or rather be taken down).
"It was obvious to all of us from the start that the Porto Franco 'criminal case' was a scandal engineered by the [Estonian Internal Security Service, ISS] and the Prosecutor's Office that was used to execute a coup d'etat in order to place the Reform Party in the government," he claimed. "That has now been clearly confirmed."
Helme asked whether anyone is going to be held accountable for this. "Are the people who came to power thanks to this now going to resign?" he asked. "Are the massive sums spent on 'administering justice,' for which taxpayers have to foot the bill, going to be reimbursed by Chief State Prosecutor Taavi Pern or Prosecutor General Andres Parmas?"
On the contrary, he continued, the "liberal regime" is entrenching itself.
"More and more new criminal cases are being launched against political opponents, increasingly stringent mind control and censorship is being imposed with the help of the hate speech law, e-voting [online] is being expanded into m-voting [via smart devices], the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules are being abolished so that the opposition can't get a say," Helme asserted.
"Citizens suffering from poverty and humiliation can always be comforted by saying that no matter how bad things get, at least EKRE isn't in power!" he added.
All three defendants in the Porto Franco case — the Center Party, former Center Party secretary general Mihhail Korb and businessman Hillar Teder — were on Wednesday acquitted of charges of influence peddling by Judge Aime Ivanson in the first-tier Harju County Court.
The Porto Franco scandal, which first broke in 2021, led to the breakup of Jüri Ratas' second government, a coalition government consisting of Center, EKRE and Isamaa.
Editor: Aili Vahtla