The criminal investigation of Marti Kuusik, who resigned one day after being sworn in as Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology in connection with allegations of domestic violence, for which he was later formally charged, has been passed on from assistant prosecutor to senior prosecutor.
That the Prosecutor's Office expressed its willingness to take the criminal matter to court has been confirmed by the fact that the investigation has been passed on from Assistant Prosecutor Elle Karm to Senior Prosecutor Sirje Merilo. According to the law, an assistant prosecutor cannot participate in a public proceeding in court, writes daily Postimees, citing regional Virumaa Teataja (link in Estonian).
Kuusik, a member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), served as Minister of Foreign Trade and IT from April 29 to April 30.
On April 29, the day he was to be sworn in as minister alongside the rest of Ratas' second Cabinet, an article was published in the weekly Eesti Ekspress that claimed based on sources known to the editors that Kuusik had been physically and psychologically abusive toward his ex-wife. The article mentioned that the editors' sources were people who knew the Kuusik family personally.
That same day, the police and the Prosecutor's Office launched a criminal investigation into the claims under § 121 of the Penal Code, which addresses physical abuse.
On the morning of April 30, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) told ERR that he welcomed the launch of a criminal investigation, as they "needed clarity, fast." He admitted that, "just like the police and other state authorities," he likewise did not have any information regarding Kuusik's alleged violence against his wife, due to which he had no grounds for dismissing the minister.
Later that same day, Kuusik announced his resignation as minister, stating that he was resigning in order to ensure peace for the new government and in the interests of clearing his name and protecting his family.
Kuusik was replaced as Minister of Foreign Trade and IT by fellow EKRE member Kert Kingo.
Editor: Aili Vahtla