Police in Estonia on Wednesday arrested Teet Soorm and Mati Tuvi, former members of the management board of the Baltic operation of listed Finnish food group HKScan, for embezzlement and money laundering on a large scale.
A third individual has also been arrested under suspicion of aiding and abetting the crimes allegedly committed by Soorm and Tuvi, the Central Criminal Police said.
On the basis of evidence gathered thus far, there are grounds to suspect Soorm and Tuvi of concluding transactions detrimental to the company through misuse of trust and the embezzlement of approximately €1.5 million as well as money laundering on the same scale, said North District Prosecutor Stella Veber.
"According to the allegations, Teet Soorm and Mati Tuvi from 2010-2016 embezzled assets of AS Rakvere Farmid, making use of agreements concluded with businesses belonging to or controlled by persons connected to them," Veber said. "Fictitious invoices were also used to legalize money obtained by unlawful means. In addition, Teet Soorm and Mati Tuvi concluded rent and guarantee agreements detrimental to the company, whereby unjustified obligations in the amount of over €3 million were assumed by the company."
According to the district prosecutor, more than €1.3 million worth of various assets have been seized by now as part of the criminal investigation to secure a civil action.
"This case is a good example of how a company itself finds out about offenses, registers them and cooperates with the police," said Ulav Kalf, head of the procedure service at the Economic Crimes Unit of the Central Criminal Police. "Strong control in a business helps to find out about dishonest employees and reduces potential risks."
Searches were conducted on Wednesday at the homes and workplaces of the suspects in various Estonian cities.
Simson not connected to investigation
While the circle of suspects in the investigation may widen, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Kadri Simson (Center), Soorm's common-law partner, is not among the suspects, according to the prosecutor's office.
"The circle of suspects may expand, but there is no reason to link Kadri Simson with it," Office of the Prosecutor General spokesperson Kaarel Kallas told BNS on Wednesday.
Editor: Aili Vahtla