Savisaar case lawyer denies prosecutor pressed client to make false claims ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Raiko Paas (left) with his client Priit Kutser at his hearing last year. Paas rejects claims by former judge, and brother of one of the co-defendants, Leo Kunman, that prosecutor Sven-Hristo Evestus pressured Kutser to make false claims. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

A lawyer in the ongoing Edgar Savisaar corruption trial has rejected claims that former chief prosecutor Sven-Hristo Evestus pressured on of the co-defendants in the trial into making statements.

Last week, former judge Leo Kunman filed a criminal offense report against Evestus, along with former prosecutor at the North District Prosecutor's Office, Triinu Olev, saying they had pressured former city government official Priit Kutser into indicting Savisaar as guilty in order to get his own case terminated on expediency grounds.

Kutser's lawyer Raiko Paas was also present in the conversations, which took place over a year ago and in which Kunman, whose businessman brother Vello is another co-defendant in the long-running case, show pressure put on Kutser to make false statements about Savisaar.

Paas rejected the claim that such pressure had been put on his client, however.

"If that were the case, I'd definitely have intervened," Paas told news portal Delfi, according to ERR's online news in Estonian.

Kutser's case was indeed terminated on the grounds of expediency last September, but Evestus told Delfi last Friday that there was no basis to the claims that he and Olev had directed Kutser to make false statements.

Vello Kunman also stands accused of offering bribes to Savisaar to get a favorable outcome in one of his construction projects. He is one of four co-defendants whose trials are still ongoing.

The prosecutor's office said on Monday that it sought a conditional (i.e. suspded) sentence of one year, with two years on probation, in Kunman's case. The three other co-defendants may face real jail time.

The Office of the Prosecutor General confirmed Friday that they have received the complaint against Evestus and Olev, which will be settled pursuant to the procedure prescribed by law.

Evestus announced his decision to lay down his duties as state prosecutor while the Savisaar case was mid-trial.

Most of the co-defendants have been dealt with by the law, with outcomes ranging from terminating the case on expediency grounds, to plea bargains, to fines. The Centre Party received a fine of over a quarter of a million euros, but this was suspended pending no further wrongdoing in a case concerning bribery, nepotism, illicit donations and other alleged misdeeds.

Savisaar himself saw his trial terminated for good by the Supreme Court, on the grounds of health issues.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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