Prosecutor's Office: No crime in Tarand keeping SAPTK donation

Former MEP Indrek Tarand (SDE) in Harju County Court.
Former MEP Indrek Tarand (SDE) in Harju County Court. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Northern District Prosecutor's Office sees no crime in former MEP Indrek Tarand (SDE) keeping the money transferred to him from the bank account of the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition (SAPTK).

This May, Tarand and Meelis Osa, 58, and Mart Rieberg, 56, the two men seen kicking the then-MEP at a protest in front of the Riigikogu last November, submitted an application to Harju County Court seeking to resolve the criminal matter against the two defendants in a conciliation procedure.

According to the terms of the settlement, Osa and Rieberg were to pay €1,080 as compensation for patrimonial damage as well as cover his legal expenses in the amount of €920.

On May 23, SAPTK transferred a total of €2,000 from its account to that of Tarand, writing in the details field, "Donations of several readers of Objektiiv in support of Mart Rieberg and Meelis Osa."

As Rieberg and Osa transferred the same amount of money to Tarand pursuant to their court-approved settlement, SAPTK board chairman Varro Vooglaid demanded that Tarand return the extra €2,000. The latter has yet to do so.

District Prosecutor Ülle Jaanhold found on Monday that based on SAPTK's report, there were no grounds for launching criminal proceedings.

"When transferring [the money], it was not specified what the donation to Indrek Tarand had been made for, nor did it specify in advance the conditions under which Indrek Tarand was required to accept or return the donation," Jaanhold said.

According to the district prosecutor, Tarand's activity did not involve any characteristics of the section of the Penal Code on embezzlement.

"This is a dispute arising from a unilateral transaction, and it is possible to take the money refund claim to civil court," Jaanhold added.

SAPTK is to appeal the Northern District Prosecutor's Office's decision with the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Vooglaid: Some can break the law as they please

SAPTK board chairman Varro Vooglaid told BNS that he feels as though different laws apply to different people in Estonia.

"Tarand knew very well what we transferred the money on behalf of SAPTK to him for," Vooglaid said. "He also explicitly promised to return the money, and it was only on the basis of this promise that Osa and Rieberg transferred the same amount to him again. When Tarand had received the money for the second time, he took back his promise to pay the money back and began to sneer that 'You were stupid to believe my promise.'"

According to Vooglaid, such behavior by the Prosecutor's Office clearly undermines the people's faith in the rule of law. "Especially knowing that you are a prominent, well-connected person, you can break the law however you want — there is nothing to fear," he added.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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