Party finance watchdog files Tallinn deputy mayor illicit donation report

The party finances watchdog body in Estonia has submitted a report to the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), asking it to initiate proceedings relating to an alleged prohibited donation concerning a current Tallinn deputy mayor, who ran in the 2019 European Elections. The allegations relate to an invoicing system which avoids the payment of interest.

The body, the Political Parties Supervision Committee (ERJK) was not unanimous in submitting the report to the PPA – two voted against doing so, with six in favor.

The ERJK started its investigation into Vadim Belobrovtsev, one of six deputy mayors in the capital, and a company called Complex Consult OÜ, back in 2020, ERR reports.

It has contacted the Tax and Customs Board (MTA) for further information on a transaction, which the latter confirmed is not an installment in their view, as the service provider submits monthly service invoices to Belobrovtsev for the service provided in May 2019, thus avoiding the accrual of interest.

The ERJK stated that: "With this, Belobrovtsev could and did use the creditor's money without paying a fee for that, while his debt will be repaid on favorable terms compared with the market situation, which the Political Parties Act prohibits as constituting a prohibited donation to a legal entity."

The invoice from Complex Consult OÜ was issued to Belobrovsev for €11,687 for the provision of advertising services.

At thee start of last year, Belobrovstev stated he had entered a general agreement with Complex Consult in which he is required to pay a minimum of €200 per month, plus 10 percent interest and service fees – the nature of the latter remains unclear, the ERJK says.

Belobrovtsev told the ERJK he would be paying off the total via a payments schedule, to be fulfilled in or by 2024 (i.e. at least €2,400 per annum plus interest and fees, for the period 2021-2024, roughly speaking -ed.) , when any interest owed would also be paid. However, the ERJK says that this period of indebtedness is unnecessarily long, while there are also inconsistencies in the relationship between Belovbrovtsev and Complex Consult, the ERJK said.

Belovbrovtsev is deputy mayor in the Center/SDE Tallinn coalition, with responsibility for sport, education and integration.

Read the article at ERR.