A businessman suspected of embezzlement of donations to Ukraine has returned around two-thirds of the total €225,000 he is required to give back. The deadline for doing so had been late October.
The alleged embezzlement concerns funds raised via the toeta.me donation site, whose bank account's sole administrator, Henri Laupmaa, was declared suspect back in October.
The funds are earmarked for anti-jamming tech to be installed on drones being sent to Ukraine.
So far Laupmaa has transferred around €139,000 donated to Ukraine via that porta, leaving €86,000 still to account for.
The anti-GPS jamming devices are made by Estonian firm Threod Systems.
These would be attached to drones to be shipped to Ukraine. The devices both extend the life of front-line drones and help counter Russian electronic warfare assets.
Around a dozen of these have been attached and sent to Ukraine so far, Strider said.
Roy Strider, an artist and writer who headed up the campaign, said that Laupmaa is transferring the funds piecemeal to Threod; a week-and-a- half ago, Threod received €9,000, and a few weeks before that another €10,000.
At the same time, Strider called it "criminally shameless" that the process of returning the funds – at a time when Ukraine is under severe attack by Russian forces – is taking as long as it has been.
An agreement signed between the leaders of the donation campaign required Laupmaa to transfer all the missing €225,000 campaign money by October 23.
Laupmaa declined to comment when approached by ERR on Friday.
A total of 21 drones with Threod Systems GPS jamming devices affixed to them are due to be sent to Ukraine, once the entire sum has been returned.
In early October, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) filed a suspicion against the NGO "Infograafika ja Ergonoomika Instituut," which operates the online platform "Toeta.me," and its sole board member Henri Laupmaa, over the alleged misappropriation of funds.
As noted, Laupmaa agreed to return the funds in question in full, but accusations that he had been dragging his heels on this have been ongoing since the story first came to light.
The case, along with another involving embezzlement allegations of donations to Ukraine which led to an Eesti 200 MP having to step down from parliament, have led to calls for stricter monitoring of such charities.
In addition to Roy Strider, MPs Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform) and Juku-Kalle Raid (Eesti 200) headed up the donation drive campaign.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots