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Tartu mayor demands resignation of deputies suspected of corruption

Tartu deputy mayors Artjom Suvorov (left) and Valvo Semilarski were arrested on Oct. 18, 2017.
Tartu deputy mayors Artjom Suvorov (left) and Valvo Semilarski were arrested on Oct. 18, 2017. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform) demanded the resignation of two of his deputies, Valvo Semilarski (Reform) and Artjom Suvorov (Center). The two were arrested by the Internal Security Service earlier on Wednesday and are suspected of corruption.

Officials of the Internal Security Service arrested the two on Wednesday morning and conducted searches at the Tartu Town Hall. Deputy mayors Valvo Semilarski and Artjom Suvorov are suspects in criminal offenses, spokespeople for the city government confirmed.

Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas told the media on Wednesday that he didn’t have any details, but that the city’s administration would “cooperate fully” with both the ISS and the South district prosecutor.

“Although it is just a suspicion at this point and the investigation is ongoing, I don’t see how it is possible for them to continue as deputy mayors, and I demand that they resign,” the Reform Party mayor said.

Asked by ERR’s radio news whether he himself was going to resign—a question prompted by Reform’s own demands earlier this year that Center Party officials step down after it turned out that Tallinn deputy mayor Arvo Sarapuu had interfered with the city’s waste disposal contracts—Klaas said he sees no reason to do so.

The city would run its own internal investigation once the circumstances of the case became clear, Klaas added.

Semilarski and Suvorov were arrested on Wednesday morning. The prosecutor suspects Semilarski of a large-scale breach of procedural restrictions. He is also suspected of having accepted a bribe, the case involving a businessman as well who is suspected of having bribed him.

Artjom Suvorov is suspected of having received bribes on several occasions in exchange for allocating support money to different organizations. One more individual is suspected of having bribed him and also subject to this investigation.

The criminal investigations of Semilarski and Suvorov are not connected with each other. The investigation is carried out by the ISS and supervised by the South District Prosecutor's Office.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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