Preliminary hearings continued on Tuesday in the case of former Tallinn mayor and Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar, who is facing charges for graft, money laundering, misappropriating public funds, and accepting illegal political donations.
Savisaar’s lawyer, Oliver Nääs, is petitioning to suspend the court proceedings because of his client’s health.
Prosecutor Sven-Hristo Evestus sees no reason why the trial should be suspended. Up to now there had been no signs of serious health issues, and Nääs had not submitted any requests that would have hinted at them.
Beyond that, Savisaar had recently been politically active. “He has assumed his position as the Center Party’s history advisor and is meeting with voters,” Evestus remarked, adding that the court could always call an ambulance in the case of immediate problems.
Nääs also demands that Evestus be replaced, as the latter had been partial during the investigation leading up to the trial.
Nääs asked the court to end the criminal investigation concerning accusations brought against Savisaar for money laundering, as it had been going on for six years, and had involved his client for five and a half years already.
Judge Anne Rebane had decided in a hearing on Feb. 16 that the main trial is not to start before June 12, and trial sessions are expected to last until autumn 2018.
Accusations and the accused
The State Prosecutor’s Office has accused Savisaar of using Tallinn city budget funds for personal and Center Party interests, i.e. misappropriation on a large scale, both as an elected official and in a group, as well as four episodes of accepting bribes, money-laundering and the acceptance of prohibited donations to the Center Party on a large scale. The Center Party likewise stands accused as a legal entity.
Accused of bribing Savisaar are businessmen Aivar Tuulberg, Alexander Kofkin, Hillar Teder and Vello Kunman. Tallinn city council chairman Kalev Kallo is accused of aiding bribery and the accepting of bribes; ex-politician Villu Reiljan is accused of mediating bribery; Priit Kutser is accused of aiding misappropriation [of funds].
The Office of the Prosecutor called off the criminal investigations of seven officials due to the absence of the grounds thereof, as the officials’ actions were not motivated by the desire to appropriate city property for a political party or related individuals.
Editor: Dario Cavegn