The Centre Party must pay the state €25,000 in a corruption case concerning the party's former leader Edgar Savisaar for accepting forbidden donations, Harju County Court with the Office of the Prosecutor General ruled on Thursday.
The court ruling states the Centre Party must pay the state €25,000 and the rest of the fine €250,000 will be suspended, pending the party does not commit another crime over a probationary period of one year and six months.
"The prosecutor's office has already, during the pretrial proceeding, and also during the subsequent court proceeding held negotiations with the parties to agree to a plea bargain. In May the negotiations reached the point where the Centre Party agreed to a guilty verdict in a plea bargain, and that decision came to be between the prosecutor leading the proceeding, the accused, and its attorneys," said Prosecutor General Lavly Perling.
Taavi Pern, head of the prosecution department at the chief prosecutor's office, said that the prosecutor's office has held negotiations on a plea bargain with the parties involved both during the pretrial proceeding and the court proceeding.
"In May the negotiations came to the point where the Centre Party agreed to a guilty verdict in a plea bargain," he said. "It can be said, however, that the prosecutor's office assesses each accused party individually and when it comes to the punishment, the underlying consideration is what will have an effect on the accused."
The new leadership of the party has said on several occasions that it doesn't want to go to court and wants to get rid of the legacy of the Edgar Savisaar era.
The Savisaar corruption case hearing began at Harju County Court on June 12, 2017 when the defendants said they understood the charges but do not plead guilty. Savisaar was freed from trial on corruption charges on health issues in December 2018, after his own hearings went up the ladder of Estonia's three-tier court system, first to the circuit court, and finally the supreme court.
The Office of the Prosecutor General brought charges against Savisaar for accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement on a large scale, and accepting prohibited donations on behalf of the Centre Party.
Editor: Helen Wright