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Prosecution charges EKRE MP Kert Kingo with fraud

Kert Kingo at the Riigikogu.
Kert Kingo at the Riigikogu. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Prosecutor's Office has sent a criminal case to the courts, charging Riigikogu MP Kert Kingo (EKRE) with fraud. Kingo, a former minister, stands charged with inciting the falsification of documents and of the use of forged documents.

Sworn Attorney Martin Traat is Kingo's co-accused; the Prosecutor's Office has charged Kingo with aiding and abetting in relation to the alleged scheme, and of falsifying documents, and he, too, must appear before the court.

The charge sheet states that Kert Kingo submitted invoices from a law firm to the Riigikogu for reckoning, invoices which indicated various consulting services relating to an MP's work, but which in fact said law firm did not provide to Kingo in connection with her work at the Riiigkogu.

The charge sheet states Kingo used fake invoices, in order to have the Riigikogu reimburse the legal expenses of persons not related to the work of the Riigikogu.

Lawyer Martin Traat is accused of falsifying invoices, and, according to the indictment, held in his office false data written in to the invoices in question and based on Kingo's instructions.

The indictment goes on to state that both Kingo and Traat were fully aware that such services had not in actuality been provided in connection with the work of Riigikogu MP. The indictment states that the law firm actually provided services to outsiders, but that Kingo had the invoices for services rendered paid in the entry for the expense allowances of a member of the Riigikogu.

The charge sheet states that the defendants, in misusing expense allowances permitted by the Riigikogu, caused losses to the Riigikogu of €8,271.

The criminal charges have been sent to the court via general proceedings.

Upon conviction of fraud committed by an official, a court can under Estonian law impose a penalty of imprisonment of a term from one to five years.

A prerequisite for a sitting MP to be subject to legal proceedings is that their parliamentary immunity be revoked.

The Riigikogu did this in Kingo's case on September 18, ar the Chancellor of Justice's proposal.

An MP who has had their immunity removed can still sit in parliament.

On being declared suspect in the matter in September 2022, Kingo told investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress that both charges were groundless and without substance, and had been plucked out of thin air (or, in Estonian, "sucked from the pen" ("pastakast imetud").

Kert Kingo was minister for IT and foreign trade in 2019.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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