Savisaar corruption trial to continue next month ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Priit Kutser in Harju County Court.
Priit Kutser in Harju County Court. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Harju County Court on Thursday concluded the judicial investigation of the corruption case involving Tallinn ex-mayor and former longtime Centre Party chairman Edgar Savisaar and has set the date of the next hearing in the trial for Oct. 4.

At the first hearing next month, parties to the trial will be able to present further applications and evidence, and the trial should then continue with a court dispute on Oct. 7.

Businessman Aivar Tuulberg, who provided statements on Thursday in the framework of the trial of businessmen accused of bribing Savisaar, affirmed that he had not given bribes to Savisaar, adding that the entire process has political connotations.

Last month, the court heard testimony by businessman Alexander Kofkin, who said that he had not been active in the management of his businesses for a long time, and had never influenced Savisaar to make decisions in favor of his businesses. Kofkin also stressed that he had never offered a bribe to Savisaar or Savisaar's acquaintances.

Vello Kunman, another businessman accused of offering a bribe to Savisaar, testified in court on Aug. 13, denying both his acquaintance with Savisaar as well as offering him money.

On June 18, businessman Hillar Teder admitted in Harju County Court that he covertly financed the Centre Party in 2014, and was released from trial on the grounds of expediency. The court acceded to an application by the Prosecutor's Office, terminated proceedings against Teder on the grounds of expediency, and ordered Teder to pay a penalty of €200,000 to the state.

On June 18, the court also separated the materials of the criminal case of the Centre Party from the so-called Savisaar trial into separate proceedings, as the Centre Party wants to enter a plea deal with the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Savisaar spared, but trial continues

Late in December 2018, Savisaar was released from trial on corruption charges due to the poor state of his health.

The Office of the Prosecutor General charged Savisaar with accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement on a large scale, and accepting a prohibited donation from the Centre Party.

The Centre Party is on trial as a legal person, entered a plea bargain with the Office of the Prosecutor General and was given a pecuniary punishment. According to the court ruling, the Centre Party must pay the state €25,000. The rest of the punishment, in the amount of €250,000, will be suspended on the condition that the Centre Party does not commit another crime during a probationary period of one year and six months.

The Office of the Prosecutor General is also accusing businessmen Aivar Tuulberg, Alexander Kofkin and Vello Kunman of giving bribes to Savisaar.
Former Tallinn City Council chairman Kalev Kallo is accused of aiding in the giving and accepting of a bribe. Former politician Villu Reiljan was accused of arranging a bribe for Savisaar.

Former City of Tallinn official Priit Kutser was also on trial for aiding embezzlement, but proceedings were concluded for reasons of expediency.

Hearings in the Savisaar trial began at Harju County Court on June 12, 2017, when the defendants stated that they understood the charges filed against them but pleaded not guilty.

Reiljan, a former minister of the environment, pleaded guilty, and the court decided to separate the charges related to him from the bigger case in order to conclude a plea deal. According to the resulting deal, Reiljan was to pay the state slightly over €33,000.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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