Officers of the Estonian Central Criminal Police have arrested more than ten people as suspects in membership of a criminal organization, including two high-profile businessmen and two former officers of the police and the Internal Security Service (ISS), according to unconfirmed reports.
The Office of the Prosecutor General said on Wednesday that "more than ten people" have been detained and questioned as suspects in membership of a criminal organization. Procedural acts in the said investigation were started on Tuesday.
The police also searched the dwellings and workplaces of the suspects, mainly in Tallinn and Harju county, but also elsewhere in Estonia.
According to the suspicion, the criminal organization that engaged in criminal activity for years has committed numerous economic crimes and crimes against property with the aim of monetary gain for its leaders and members. In addition to physical persons, legal persons were used for the commission of criminal offenses. The exact size of the proceeds of crime is being established.
According to the news portal of public broadcaster ERR, the persons detained include businessmen Hubert Hirv and Pavel Gammer, and the suspects include attorney Viktor Särgava. Among the detainees is former police officer Aivar Orukas, who has worked for more than ten years at the anti-money laundering office of the Central Criminal Police, as well as former staffer of ISS Viljar Subka.
ERR also named Ahmed Ozdojev, a person known in the Estonian criminal world, as one of the suspects. According to the suspicion, his activities were related to attempted extortion.
ERR has learned that the suspicion concerns several episodes of tax fraud entailing altogether at least one million euros, as well as an attempt to blackmail over three million U.S. dollars from an entrepreneur.
The public prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Eve Olesk, said that on Tuesday the alleged leaders and alleged members of the criminal organization were declared suspects. On Wednesday the prosecutor's office was about to seek custody for some of the detainees.
"Since according to the suspicion the actions of the detained individuals were aimed at earning illegal income, in the course of further proceedings great attention will be paid to the identification and seizure of proceeds of crime," Olesk added.
The director of the Central Criminal Police, Aivar Alavere, said that unlike the criminal organizations that have come under investigation so far, which have been engaging in drug crime and violent crime, this group engaged in white collar crime.
"The organization had a constant and systemic structure in which each member made their contribution to the earning of criminal income," Alavere said.
The investigation is conducted by the office for the investigation of economic crimes of the Central Criminal police and overseen by the Office of the Prosecutor General.
Editor: Dario Cavegn
Source: ERR, BNS