Former Center Party secretary general Priit Toobal who was summoned to Harju County Court on Tuesday, refused to testify in the trial of suspended Tallinn mayor and former longtime Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar.
Stepping up to the witness stand, Toobal stated that he was refusing to testify, noting that even though he had not been a suspect in this case, according to the Constitution he still had the right to refuse to give testimony.
"Anything I say could in the future be used to incriminate me," Toobal stated. "I also did not testify during pretrial proceedings."
The prosecutor then said that the court should determine why Toobal refused to testify, and also asked about which time period Toobal refused to give testimony. The former party official specified that he did not wish to testify about any episode.
Toobal was thereafter allowed to leave the courtroom.
Charges against Savisaar
The Office of the Prosecutor General has charged Savisaar in using Tallinn city budgetary funds for the benefit of the Center Party and himself, i.e. embezzlement on a large-scale basis, by an official and by a group, as well as in four cases of accepting bribes, money laundering and the acceptance of prohibited large-scale donations to the Center Party. The Center Party has also been charged as a legal entity.
Charged with bribing Savisaar are businessmen Aivar Tuulberg, Alexander Kofkin, Hillar Teder and Vello Kunman. Tallinn City Council chairman Kalev Kallo has been charged with assisting in the making and accepting of bribes; former politician Villu Reiljan is charged with arranging a bribe of Savisaar. Põhja-Tallinn deputy city district elder Priit Kutser has also had to stand trial.
Harju County Court on Aug. 9 separated materials pertaining to Reiljan from the criminal case in order to pursue a plea deal with the businessman.
Editor: Aili Vahtla