Harju County Court has found the statement of charges in the Port of Tallinn corruption case to be incomplete and has returned it to the Office of the Prosecutor General.
According to the court, the statement of charges concerning Allan Kiil, Ain Kaljurand, Martin Paide, Eno Saar, HTG Invest AS, Tõnis Pohla, Üllar Raad, Sven Honga, Keskkonnahoolduse OÜ, Toivo Promm, Valdo Õunap and Jan Paszkowski does not meet the requirements set out in the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Among other issues, the court finds the indictment to be vague, contain faults in its structure, and confusion concerning the time and place of the commission of a criminal offense.
In connection with the accused, it is not understandable to the court which acts, in accordance with the statement of charges, the persons are being accused of, when these acts were committed, and what the Prosecutor's Office finds objectionable in some of the acts described in the statement of charges.
Based on the above, the court found that the statement of charges is not consistent with valid requirements and returned it to the Prosecutor's Office. According to the court, making the statement of charges more specific is in the interest of all the parties to the proceeding.
"Misunderstanding makes one speculate with allegations of the Prosecutor's Office," the county court said. "It is possible for the Prosecutor's Office to present a more understandable and more specific statement of charges, which hopefully will prevent disputes in the future concerning the statute of limitation and the circumstances of the commission of the act."
At the same time, the court took no stance regarding the justification of the legal assessment contained in the statement of charges, even though several defense attorneys suggested at the preliminary hearing that the legal assessment was not justified.
"The fact that an attorney does not agree with the conclusions contained in the indictment, or judiciary practice in similar cases has been different to date, does not automatically mean that the statement of charges is not consistent with legal requirements and the statement of charges should be returned to the Prosecutor's Office," Harju County Court said.
The court's ruling can be appealed within 15 days.
In September 2017, the Office of the Prosecutor General submitted to the court the materials of the criminal investigation in which Port of Tallinn ex-CEO Ain Kaljurand and ex-management board member Allan Kiil were charged with accepting altogether €4 million in bribes, including €3 million in the tender for contracts to build new ferries for the island routes.
On the basis of evidence gathered in the course of a criminal investigation lasting almost three years, prosecutors have accused Kiil and Kaljurand of accepting bribes on a large scale and money laundering committed from 2005 to 2015.
A third person, former head of the Port of Tallinn's service department Martin Paide, is accused of accepting a bribe, and seven more physical and two legal persons of giving bribes and assisting in the giving of bribes.
According to the statement of charges, Kiil and Kaljurand agreed to accept bribes from several businesses in return for these businesses' contractual relations with the Port of Tallinn being as smooth as possible. Over the course of ten years, Kiil and Kaljurand agreed, acting together as well as separately, to accept bribes in the total amount of almost €4 million.
The biggest portion of said bribes, approximately €3 million, was a bribe promised to Kiil by representatives of Turkish and Polish shipbuilders for being awarded contracts to build ferries for the Port of Tallinn subsidiary TS Laevad.
According to the statement of charges, Paide was ready to accept a bribe of more than €40,000, Kaljurand of approximately €400,000 and Kiil of €3.5 million.
While the entire promised bribes reached Paide and Kaljurand, Kiil only had time to receive approximately €2 million prior to his arrest.
State Prosecutor Laura Feldmanis, leading the investigation, said in September that based on the statement of charges, there is reason to claim that Kiil and Kaljurand both accepted bribes consistently over the course of many years. To hide the criminal origin of the money received as a bribe and its actual owner, different legal and physical persons were used.
The investigation was conducted by the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) and led by the Office of the Prosecutor General.
Editor: Aili Vahtla