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Enterprise Estonia: Harassment incidents took place outside trip program

Taken during the delegation's time in Singapore.
Taken during the delegation's time in Singapore. Source: (Ave Tampere / Riigikogu kantselei)

After reports about members of a trade delegation harassing women at a party in Kuala Lumpur, former prime minister Taavi Rõivas among them, Enterprise Estonia, the exports support fund that arranged the trip, expressed its regret about what had happened.

Enterprise Estonia (EAS) expressed its regret on Thursday over an incident involving improper conduct by some members of a trade delegation during a visit to Malaysia.

At a party attended by delegation members, Estonians working in Malaysia, and locals, several instances of harassment apparently took place. One of them involved a male member of the delegation spilling a drink on a woman’s dress saying “I wanted to make you wet”, another involved more drastic advances including pulling up a woman’s dress and groping her.

Another case involved a woman getting pushed into a swimming pool; that particular member of the delegation, according to Enterprise Estonia, has already been barred from participating in similar delegations for a year.

As became obvious on Thursday, former prime minister and current deputy speaker of the Riigikogu, Taavi Rõivas (Reform), was involved as well, with a woman complaining about his conduct. Rõivas apparently met with the woman on Wednesday afternoon (ERR News reported).

The former prime minister released a statement on Thursday of little explanatory value, pointing to diverging recollections of the “parties involved” and apologizing to and in the name of the delegation. He did add an apology to everyone at the party who “felt bad” in the aftermath, as well as one to his wife and children.

The party took place on Sep. 21, one day after Rõivas’ wife Luisa, who so far had accompanied the delegation covering her own expenses, went on to Bali for a short holiday. Her husband remained in Kuala Lumpur.

Enterprise Estonia released a statement on Thursday afternoon saying that they had always assumed that the members of their trade delegations know how to behave themselves.

“Enterprise Estonia has always assumed that members of business delegations who represent Estonia will do so in a dignified manner. Enterprise deeply regrets that individual members of the business delegation that visited Singapore and Malaysia behaved in a manner during out-of-program hours that has undermined the whole visit and compromises also the Estonian businesspeople in the same delegation who behaved in an appropriate manner,” the statement read.

No member of the delegation had approached Enterprise Estonia with allegations of harassment during the Singapore and Malaysia trip, and neither had anyone else. They had learned about the events from the media.

“EAS is, however, aware of the case where an incident took place outside of the official program hours where a woman that was not a member of the delegation was pushed into a pool. The head of the delegation, Erki Mölder, decided to exclude the member of the delegation involved,” Enterprise Estonia wrote.

Enterprise went on to stress that the event wasn’t part of its program, suggesting that they are not responsible for what went on. “Representatives of EAS who were members of the delegation were not connected with any of the incidents,” the statement read.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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