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Woman accusing Rõivas of sexual harassment reiterates her story

Taavi Rõivas on TV chat show
Taavi Rõivas on TV chat show "Kolmeraudne" the day the story broke. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The woman former prime minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) allegedly harassed at a party in Kuala Lumpur reiterated her side of the story in daily Eesti Päevaleht’s weekend issue. She insists she told the truth, and rejects rumors that the incident was set up to damage Rõivas’s reputation.

“I’ve told the truth, I’ve compromised, I’ve been understanding, I’ve looked the man in the eyes who attacked me, I’ve explained why I’m doing this,” the woman explained in Saturday’s LP.

The woman described the events again that took place at an after-work party of a trade delegation in Kuala Lumpur in late September. A conversation with Rõivas had been followed by the two dancing, after which Rõivas allegedly pulled the woman away from the dancefloor to what the paper refers to as the catering area. This was the point where she wasn’t comfortable anymore with what was happening, she said. “Then he kissed me very aggressively. He pulled up my dress and groped me.”

What bothered her the most were accusations following the scandal that she had brought this on herself, that she had wanted it, or even more that someone had got her to play along to later on have a chance to harm Rõivas, the woman explained. Allegations that she was paid, that she received money later on from Rõivas in exchange for her silence, or that someone paid for her flights, all that was like a bad joke, the woman told the paper.

When she decided to talk to the media, she didn’t want to go after Rõivas, but draw attention to an important issue, the woman said.

Daily Eesti Päevaleht broke the story on Oct. 12 how several members of an Estonian trade delegation to Singapore and Malaysia had conducted themselves inappropriately at a party in Kuala Lumpur. The story of one of the women at the party, referred to by Päevaleht as “Katrin”, directly concerned former prime minister and then-deputy president of the Riigikogu, Taavi Rõivas (ERR News reported).

Though he issued a public apology that also included his wife and family, Rõivas in several appearances on the same day said that the woman’s version of what happened was an “exaggeration”. In a countermove that among other things included a live interview together with his wife, Rõivas went on to contradict the details of the story as Päevaleht reported it, though he never outright rejected the accusations against him, and accused the woman as well as the paper of having hurt his family and children.

He announced the same day that he would step down as one of the Riigikogu’s deputy presidents, although he would continue as a member of parliament for the Reform Party. His successor, party chairman Hanno Pevkur, is expected to be elected today Monday.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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