Court leaves Pavel Gammer in custody ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Tallinn Circuit Court did not release hotel and restaurant businessman Pavel Gammer, who stands accused of leading a criminal organization, from custody.

Defense attorney Daniil Savitski had sought Gammer's release from custody, proposing that his client could be released with the application of electronic surveillance. The curt, however, disagreed.

Hubert Hirv, 60, and Gammer, 55, have been charged with leading a criminal organization, unauthorized surveillance, giving bribes in the private sector, concealing tax liabilities, illegally handling a firearm, ammunition and silencers, and handling a weapon banned in civilian use.

The Office of the Prosecutor General has also charged Gammer along with Ahmed Ozdojev, an individual known in the Estonian criminal world, with extortion. Ozdojev is currently out on €350,000 bail.

Ardo Vilbre, head of finance of Hirv and Gammer's businesses, lawyer Viktor Särgava, Jelena Lipendina, head of Hirv and Gammer's catering establishments, security guards Aleksandr Russalim and Sergei Panov, former Internal Security Service (ISS) employee Viljar Subka, and accountants Inga Gammer and Inna Stoljar have been accused of being members of a criminal organization.

In addition to being a member of a criminal organization, Vilbre has also been accused of counterfeiting a document and attempted benefit fraud; Lipendina has been charged with counterfeiting and using a forged document and tax avoidance; Särgava has been accused of knowingly using a forged document.

Russalim and Panov will likewise both also stand trial for unauthorized surveillance, and Russalim faces additional charges of illegally handling firearms and possession of a weapon banned in civilian use.

Three companies, OÜ Escado Grupp, Restoplus OÜ and Emereana OÜ, have been charged with belonging to a criminal organization, while a fourth, OÜ Novatek Holding, stands accused of attempted benefit fraud.

Mihkel, Galina, Liubov, Natalja, Raul, Anna, Niina and Svetlana have all been charged with committing tax crimes. In addition to leaders and members of the criminal organization, Hando has also been charged with concealing accounting documents, while Ivar has been charged with accepting a bribe in the private sector.

Extensive web of criminal activity

According to the charges, Hirv and Gammer had led a criminal organization since 2008, the activity of which was aimed toward committing economic crimes for the purpose of obtaining monetary gain.

State Prosecutor Kati Reitsak said that the criminal organization was involved in extensive tax crimes via companies under its control.

"A large portion of the tax crimes consisted of envelope wages systematically paid at the catering establishment of the heads of the criminal organization," Reitsak explained. "The organization's aim of material gain was achieved by committing corruption crimes and crimes against property as a secondary activity. In addition to material gain, the criminal organization also carried out unauthorized surveillance and handled illegal firearms, ammunition and silencers."

According to the charges, Hirv and Gammer had their security guards secretly monitor Veiko Kulla, a former police officer and security businessman, Veljaddin Kerimhanov, a leader of the Azerbaijani community who had during the previous decade been within the sphere of interest of the Central Criminal Police, as well as a third man known in criminal circles.

Central Criminal Police investigation materials indicate that Ozdojev attempted to extort 3.5 million USD from a Russian entrepreneur and threatened to kill them if they did not pay.

According to the materials, when resolving the business dispute, Ozdojev told the Russian businessman that "The Chechens will come and kill everyone." Ozdojev has categorically denied the crime; Hirv and Gammer also deny their guilt.

Assets in the amount of over €1.3 million have been seized in the criminal case, including valuable jewelry, artwork, firearms, stuffed animals and other assets. Mortgages placed on real estate belonging to the accused also total over €3.8 million.

The pretrial investigation was led by the Office of the Prosecutor General and conducted by the Central Criminal Police.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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