Sarapuu family demands money and apology from Ligi, Helme

Center Party parliamentary group chairwoman Kersti Sarapuu. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The Sarapuu family around former Tallinn deputy mayor Arvo Sarapuu and chairwoman of the Center Party's group in the Riigikogu, Kersti Sarapuu, are demanding damages and an apology from Jürgen Ligi (Reform) and Martin Helme (EKRE).

The family's lawyer has submitted a demand for damages in the amount of €50,000 to €100,000, daily Postimees reported on Thursday.

The Sarapuus are arguing that remarks made by Ligi and Helme leading up to the Reform Party, Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), and Free Party's motion of no confidence against Minister of Economic Affairs Kadri Simson (Center) on Jan. 10 regarding Center Party members, the transport business, and corruption tainted their whole family.

According to lawyers Oliver Nääs and Rainer Ratnik, chairman of the Reform Party's parliamentary group Jürgen Ligi dragged the whole Sarapuu family into the matter, and family members now individually demand to be compensated for the non-material damage incurred.

The letter also sets out the apology the family expects from Ligi, and specifies that the apology will have to be published in two national papers at his own cost.

"The freedom to slander fellow citizens or colleagues isn't part of the privileges of a member of the Riigikogu," Nääs remarked.

Chairman of EKRE's parliamentary group, Martin Helme, received a similar letter. Both told the paper that they aren't planning to meet the family's demands, and that they see no reason to admit any fault in the matter.

In a Facebook post, Ligi accused the Center Party to be behind the letter. "Of course it's the party that demands it from me, not the family, and with my person is threatening the opposition as such," Ligi wrote.

Then-deputy mayor Arvo Sarapuu (Center) was arrested in May last year on the suspicion of having meddled with the city's waste disposal tenders to gain a competitive advantage for his family's business (ERR News reported).

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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