Prosecutor office appealing Tartu deputy mayor acquittal ({{commentsTotal}})

Artjom Suvorov (fifth from left in blue suit) in court.
Artjom Suvorov (fifth from left in blue suit) in court. Source: Madis Hindre/ERR

The prosecutor's office is to appeal the acquittal of former Tartu deputy mayor Artjom Suvorov, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation said on Monday.

Mr Suvurov, 29, was acquitted of bribery and attempted fraud earlier in the day by Tartu County Court.

"Although the court only presented a brief summary of its reasons at today's sitting, meaning that it explained its judgment in brief, this nevertheless convinced the prosecutor's sufficiently that appealing the court's decision is inevitable. Before that, the full version of the court's decision has to be received to be able to see how the court arrived at such conclusions," the prosecutor's office said, according to BNS.

Under Estonian law, parties in the proceedings may appeal the Tartu court's decision within seven days. Once an appeal is lodged, the court would make the full version of the verdict public on April 4. If the appeal is not upheld then Mr Suvorov will be paid legal costs, as will one of his co-defendants, Kaido Sirge, 37.

The prosecutor had sought a four-year prison sentence for Mr Suvorov, in suspended sentence except for three months of that time. The remainder would have been conditional, with a four-year probation period, it is reported.

The prosecutor additionally sought a three-year ban on Mr Suvorov from serving in managerial positions. 

Tartu County Court found Mr Suvorov and Mr Sirge's guilt not proven as well as that of another co-defendant, Ivan Zayats, 68.

Alleged attempted defrauding of 77-year-old woman

The prosecutor sought a suspended jail sentence of 10 months, with a one-year probation period for Mr Sirge and for a suspended jail sentence of six months with a one-year probation period for Mr Zayats, according to BNS.

The defendants' attorneys said their clients should be acquitted on all charges.

Mr Suvorov was charged with promising support for sports clubs and for acquantainces of his connected with sports clubs, from Tartu city funds, between 2015 and 2017, the prosecutor's office said in May.

Mr Suvorov was also charged with receiving bribes of over €600 either in cash in kind, in return for access to his official position in directing and influencing decision-making processes.

In addition, the prosecutor's office accused Mr Suvorov of requesting a bribe for a third person in 2017, to a total of €960, contributing to the granting of a €2,000 activity support from the City of Tartu to a non-profit association linked with the main party to the bribe.

The €960 was to be transferred to an acquaintance linked to Mr Suvorov, who had helped him during local government election events in the city of Tartu.

"Paying to third persons for favours in such a way certainlymade the bribe scheme more difficult to detect, but the content of the matter remains the same. This is nevertheless misuse of an official position by an official and in this case, the initiator was an official, which makes the crime more serious in essence," the prosecutor's office had said in May 2018.

Furthermore, Mr Suvorov stood accused of attempting to obtain €5,000 from a 77-year-old woman. This entailed promising he victim the transfer of an apartment belonging to the city of Tartu, which he allegedly did in his role as a member of Tartu city government's housing committee. The woman reportedly did not go along with the scheme.

The pre-trial procedure was carried out by the Internal Security Service (ISS) under the leadership of the South District Prosecutor's Office.

Should Mr Suvorov's acquittal remain in place, the state must pay €55,647 in legal costs, it is reported. Mr Sirge must in the same case be paid €138 for the three days he spent behind bars as a suspect, it is reported. 

Editor: Andrew Whyte



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