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Court rules to continue Port of Tallinn bribery case

Prosecutor Laura Feldmanis successfully appealed the decision of the Harju county court.
Prosecutor Laura Feldmanis successfully appealed the decision of the Harju county court. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Tallinn circuit court satisfied an appeal of the Office of the Prosecutor General against a ruling of the Harju county court to return the statement of charges in the Port of Tallinn (AS Tallinna Sadam) corruption case.

The second-tier court sent the statement of charges back to the Harju county court for continuing the preliminary judicial proceeding in the same composition.

The Tallinn-based Harju county court found the statement of charges in the Port of Tallinn corruption case to be incomplete and at the end of February returned it to the Office of the Prosecutor General. According to the court, the statement of charges in the case did not meet the requirements set out in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Among other things, the court found the indictment to be vague, contain faults in its structure, and confusion concerning the time and the place of the commission of a criminal offense.

According to the circuit court's decision made on Wednesday, the statement of charges was composed by following requirements. The court did not agree with the county court regarding the vagueness of the indictment and the commission of criminal offense.

The circuit court also said that the typographical errors in the statement of charges are not a basis for returning it, saying that these can be corrected by the prosecutor in the course of the court investigation. The Office of the Prosecutor General sent the materials of the criminal investigation in which Port of Tallinn ex-managers Ain Kaljurand and Allan Kiil have been charged with accepting altogether four million euros in bribes, including three million euros in the tender for contracts to build new ferries for the island routes, to court at the end of September 2017.

On the basis of evidence gathered in the criminal investigation that lasted almost three years, prosecutors accuse Kiil and Kaljurand of accepting bribes on a large scale and money laundering committed from 2005 to 2015.

A third person, former head of Port of Tallinn's service department Martin Paide, is accused of bribe taking, and seven more physical and two legal persons of giving a bribe and complicity in bribe-giving.

According to the statement of charges, Kiil and Kaljurand agreed to accept bribes from several businesses in return for these businesses' contractual relations with 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 four million euros.

The biggest portion of it, approximately three million euros, is a bribe promised to Kiil by representatives of Turkish and Polish shipbuilding companies 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.

Whereas all of the promised bribes reached Paide and Kaljurand, Kiil only had time to get approximately two million euros before his arrest.

Public Prosecutor Laura Feldmanis, leading the investigation, said in September that based on the statement of charges there is reason to say 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 Internal Security Service (ISS) and led by the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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