Tartu deputy mayors suspected of corruption resign

Artjom Suvorov, one of two Tartu deputy mayors arrested on Oct. 18, 2017.
Artjom Suvorov, one of two Tartu deputy mayors arrested on Oct. 18, 2017. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Tartu deputy mayors Artjom Suvorov (Center) and Valvo Semilarski (Reform) have resigned, daily Postimees reported on Thursday evening. The two were arrested on suspicions of corruption by the Internal Security Service on Wednesday.

Both men remain under arrest. Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform), whose administration is now reduced to four members, said on Wednesday that the two had abused his trust, and demanded their resignation. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) as well as Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur demanded the same.

Raivo Bachmann, who runs the city’s internal audit department, told ERR’s Vikerraadio on Thursday that his resources were limited, and that the department’s ability to identify corrupt officials couldn’t be compared to that of the authorities.

Bachmann agreed that the circumstances of corruption cases were getting more and more complicated. “What we learn this year doesn’t need to help us next year,” he said. Their resources were very limited: “We can’t carry out surveillance activities, we can’t look into people’s private lives to this extent. We can only look at people’s transactions and all the things that we can see publicly as well as internally,” Bachmann added.

The prosecutor suspects Semilarski of a large-scale breach of procedural restrictions. Semilarski 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.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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