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27.02
2021

Kallas: ERJK may get powers to scrutinize political parties' expenses

To curb political funding, the Political Party Funding Supervision Committee (ERJK) may gain the right to check the expenses of political parties, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Wednesday.
Speaking during her first Riigikogu question time on Wednesday about tackling corruption, Kallas said one idea which has been raised is that income, as well as expenses, should be scrutinized by the commission. She also raised the question of who pays for advertising.

09.02
2021

Prosecution reclassifies Reps proceedings as criminal

Misdemeanor proceedings brought against then Minister of Education Mailis Reps (Center) in November in connection with use of an official vehicle for private trips have been reclassified as criminal.

The police said on November 24 last year that misdemeanor proceedings have been launched based on the section of the Anti-Corruption Act on corruptive use of public resources (KVS § 17). While the Prosecutor's Office found no elements of a possible criminal offense back then, things have changed two and a half months later.

28.01
2021

Daily: Diplomat gets COVID-19 vaccine in Narva ahead of returning to Russia

An internal investigation at a hospital in the eastern Estonian town of Narva is underway after daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) reported that an outgoing, high-level Russian diplomat received the full coronavirus vaccine dose at the facility, a few days before returning to Russia and despite Kremlin-backing media calling western COVID-19 vaccines dangerous.

27.01
2021

Valga hospital chief removed after offering COVID-19 vaccines to associates

Valga Hospitals' board decided on Wednesday, January 27, to recall from office its head, Margus Ulst. Ulst had offered acquaintances from the Rotary International organization the chance to jump the line in vaccinations against COVID-19. The board says Ulst's overall management of the vaccine program had been under review, and not just his unofficial offer of surplus coronavirus vaccine doses.

22.01
2021

Coalition plans to increase transparency in political processes

The Reform-Center coalition wants to make policy-making more transparent and plans to draft legislation to do so, negotiators said after Thursday's discussions. This includes looking into the funding sources of policy-making NGOs, establishing guidelines over conflicts of interest and making ministers' advisers declare their interests.

On Thursday corruption prevention was discussed between the Reform and Center parties' negotiators.

20.01
2021

Hospital boss caught offering Rotary Club preferential coronavirus vaccines

The head of Valga Hospital in South Estonia has been trying to give preferential treatment to members of international ethical and humanitarian service organization Rotary International in administering coronavirus vaccines at the hospital he manages. The Tartu branch of Rotary International, known informally as the Rotary Club refused his approach, which comprised vaccinations sufficient for around a dozen potential individuals, Baltic News Service reports.

19.01
2021

Center withdraws party finances watchdog removal bill

The Center Party has ditched a controversial bill which would have placed the body responsible for party financing oversight under the National Audit Office's (Riigikontroll) remit, in another case of in-process legislation being ditched following the collapse of the coalition last week.

Center's Riigikogu group leader Kersti Sarapuu told the chamber's Constitutional Committee that it that it was withdrawing the bill.

13.01
2021

Tallinn Mayor also questioned in Porto Franco investigation

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) has been questioned in regard to a real estate loan scandal which led to the resignation of Jüri Ratas (Center) as prime minister early on Wednesday. Tallinn City Government's offices have also been subject of a search by the Internal Security Service (ISS).

Speaking to ETV morning show "Terevisioon" Wednesday, Kõlvart said the investigation and case had been a surprise to him.

13.01
2021

Ratas: Center, EKRE, Isamaa coalition is over

Center Party leader and outgoing prime minister Jüri Ratas says his resignation early Wednesday means that the coalition of the Center Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa is over. Ratas added that now is not the time for hanging around on setting up its replacement.

Ratas told ERR that: "I think it is quite clear that the coalition which consisted of EKRE, Isamaa and Center will not continue in today's political landscape."

13.01
2021

Estonian government collapses over corruption investigation

Prime minister resigns after party named as suspect in inquiry into property project

Estonia’s prime minister has resigned after police and prosecutors launched an investigation into an alleged corruption scandal involving his left-leaning Centre party related to a property development.

Jüri Ratas, the prime minister since 2016, handed his resignation letter to the president on Wednesday, local media reported, bringing down the centre-right coalition government he heads that also includes a far-right party.

12.01
2021

Center Secretary-General, four others suspects in Porto Franco ISS probe

The Public Prosecutor's Office says it suspects five people, and the coalition Center Party, of criminal involvement in the Porto Franco real estate case. Among the five people Secretary General of the Center Party Mihhail Korb, adviser to the Minister of Finance Kersti Kracht and businessman Hillar Teder.

The case revolves around a €39-million loan granted by state credit agency KredEx in summer for the Porto Franco development in Tallinn, ostensibly money meant for businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

30.11
2020

Riigikogu member's corruption conviction upheld by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Estonia has dismissed appeals by the defense and the prosecution in a case related to corruption crimes committed in the Tallinn city government. Center Party MP Kalev Kallo will now leave the Riigikogu.

The State Prosecutor accused several business owners of giving or promising bribes to the former Mayor of Tallinn and Chairman of the Center Party Edgar Savisaar and member of Riigikogu Kalev Kallo of aiding with the corruption crimes.

28.10
2020

Corruption trial of former Port of Tallinn chief wound up on health grounds

The corruption trial of former Port of Tallinn (Tallinna Sadam) board member Allan Kiil has been terminated on health grounds.

Harju County Court made the decision to wrap up proceedings based on a medical report Tuesday. Kiil's lawyer Aivar Pilv had filed the application, which followed a court-ordered medical examination in mid-September.

08.10
2020

Officials, ministers discussing rules to make lobbying meetings public

The Ministry of Justice and members of the government are discussing if and how to make all meetings between ministers and lobbyists public after recommendations were made by the Council of Europe.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is expecting Estonia to make these changes in the near future after giving similar recommendations two years ago. At the end of September, a progress report was due from Estonia but not much has been made.

22.07
2020

State developing bill to protect whistleblowers

The Ministry of Justice is preparing to develop a bill to protect whistleblowers. By the end of 2021, Estonia must transfer the EU's Directive on the Protection of Whistleblowers into law.

Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) said: "A number of recent cases clearly show that whistleblowing can have unintended consequences. Creating information channels and providing legal protection contributes to the development of a transparent and open society, and it is certainly important for companies to solve their problems quickly and adequately."

22.07
2020

State developing bill to protect whistleblowers

The Ministry of Justice is preparing to develop a bill to protect whistleblowers. By the end of 2021, Estonia must transfer the EU's Directive on the Protection of Whistleblowers into law.

Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) said: "A number of recent cases clearly show that whistleblowing can have unintended consequences. Creating information channels and providing legal protection contributes to the development of a transparent and open society, and it is certainly important for companies to solve their problems quickly and adequately."

26.06
2020

SEB fined €1 million for breaches of anti-money laundering rules

The Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (FSA) has issued a precept to AS SEB Pank and a fine of €1 million for breaches of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules.

The FSA identified during its supervisory proceedings inadequacies in SEB Pank activities in applying customer due diligence measures during customer on-boarding and throughout the business relationships. Shortcomings were also found in the reporting of suspicions of money laundering to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

26.06
2020

Estonian banks used to launder 1.6 billion dollars

Banks in Estonia were used to move nearly $1.6 billion of criminal funds from Russia, international journalism project OCCRP, investigating organized crime and corruption, uncovered with help from Postimees and Russian paper Novaya Gazeta. The operation in question was named “Laundromat” or “Washing Machine”.

11.06
2020

EU Nation at Center of Dirty-Cash Storm Cracks Down on Crypto

The country in the spotlight of Europe’s biggest-ever dirty-money scandal is turning its attention from banks to crypto-currency firms.

Estonia, a digital trailblazer that’s a European Union and euro-area member, has been clamping down to prevent financial crime after allegations that billions of dollars of illicit cash flowed through the local unit of Denmark’s largest lender Danske Bank A/S.

30.09
2019

Tallinn University of Technology «warned» new bosses of whistleblower

Junior research fellow at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) Keegan McBride blew the whistle – he risked everything when he talked about how his superiors at the university’s Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance embezzled EU funds. Postimees discovered evidence, reached other witnesses and revealed the scheme that led to criminal proceedings, following suspicions of benefit fraud.

McBride got a new job with the university’s software development department immediately before the scandal broke. That should have been the end of it for him.

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