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Ad ordered by Kutser resembled election advertising, says designer

Prohibited campaign advertising featuring Priit Kutser.
Prohibited campaign advertising featuring Priit Kutser. Source: (ERR)

Triin Peterson, the designer who produced the information campaign poster ordered in 2013 by former city official Priit Kutser, a defendant in the trial of suspended Tallinn mayor and former Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar, said that the ad ordered by Kutser resembled an election advertisement.

Testifying in Harju County Court on Tuesday, Peterson, a designer at Disko AD OÜ, recalled that she received an order in 2013 from former city official Priit Kutser to design an ad poster.

Peterson said that Kutser wanted the poster to feature his photo, a message and the logo of Põhja-Tallinn District. "I sent an invoice to Põhja-Tallinn city district government, according to which the work was paid for," she said.

The designer said she has also produced election advertising for the Center Party. Asked what the ad ordered by Kutser could be considered, Peterson said that, at the time, she did not consider Kutser's order to constitute election advertising. "I am unable to say what distinguishes it from election advertising, but as there were no ongoing elections at that specific time, I did not see a connection then," she said. "This ad is similar to election advertising in essence, as election advertising usually includes a person, a name and some kind of promise. This was the case with the ad ordered by Kutser as well."

Peterson recalled that while the campaign ordered by the city introduced information pertaining to a promised sports complex in the district, he later wanted to use the same motif in election advertising. "That is also what happened," she recalled, adding that the postcards ordered for election advertising were paid for by Kutser himself.

Kutser stands accused of embezzlement, as an information campaign in Tallinn regarding a sports complex in Põhja-Tallinn ordered by him was handled as hidden election advertising, and the campaign was paid for using city budgetary funds.

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.

Hearings began in the case on June 12, when the defendants stated that they understood the charges but did not plead guilty.

Businessmen Paavo Pettai and Tarvo Teder as well as MP Siret Kotka-Repinski and acting mayor of Tallinn Taavi Aas have already testified as witnesses in the trial. The court has also been able to hear several subordinates of businessman Alexander Kofkin, employees of Hillar Teder's companies as well as city officials.

Of the defendants, Reiljan and former Tallinn official Priit Kutser have given their testimonies. The latter hoped that his case would be closed for reasons of expediency, but the Office of the Prosecutor General did not agree with that.

On Aug. 9, Harju County Court separated materials pertaining to Reiljan from the criminal case in order to pursue a plea deal with the businessman.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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