The Central Criminal Police searched the head offices of businessman Vjatšeslav Leedo's companies Saaremaa Shipping Company and Holstovi Kinnisvarahaldus on Wednesday. The searches were conducted in the framework of a criminal investigation connected to suspicions that the bankruptcy of Saaremaa Shipping Company may have been intentional.
The Prosecutor's Office launched a criminal investigation into allegations referenced in a criminal offense report.
"The state's obligation is to ensure a fair and transparent economic and competitive environment, and if the circumstances surrounding the cause of a bankruptcy include elements of criminal offenses, then we are obligated to investigate these allegations," said Kaido Tuulemäe, a special prosecutor with the Western District Prosecutor's Office.
Ats Kübarsepp, director of the Economic Crimes Bureau of the Central Criminal Police, added that the goal of the searches is to find evidence that will either confirm or refute existing findings and help determine the truth.
"Based on evidence collected thus far, we have reached the phase in which we have to examine the company's accounts and other evidence we can find in the course of searches," Kübarsepp explained.
Saaremaa Shipping Company served routes connecting the major Western Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa with the Estonian mainland for years, until the state-owned Port of Tallinn won the tender for taking over these routes. After losing the island routes, Saaremaa Shipping Company attempted to employ its ferries elsewhere, but largely unsuccessfully.
Over the course of a few years, disagreements arose between Leedo and business partners Olav Miil and Richard Tomingas. In order to avoid having to fulfill his obligations to his partners, Leedo decided to file for bankruptcy of the shipping company in such a way that his own company would be the largest creditor, "Pealtnägija" wrote last year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla