Estonia, Financial Services, Legislation, Real Estate

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 24.06.2024, 06:46

One of the largest corruption court process starts in Estonia

Juhan Tere, BC, Tallinn, 13.11.2009.Print version
The so-called land exchange transactions court process started on Thursday in the Harju County court with the presentation of summaries, according to which prominent Estonian civil servants received bribes ranging from tens of thousands to millions of kroons from real estate companies and businessmen to help them get ownership of exclusive land, Estonian newspapers write.

Harju County court.

Public prosecutors Laura Feldmanis and Inna Ombler presented a summary of charges that indicated that 13 allegedly illegal land exchange transactions, worth 250 mln kroons, were carried out completely against the initial principles that had been elaborated. In other words, real estate businessmen chose state-owned high-quality land units they wanted to acquire, and state officials made sure that the land reached the businessmen via the land exchange procedure, Eesti Päevaleht/LETA writes. The procedure was developed initially so that owners of land with nature protection restrictions could exchange such land for some other lots without such restrictions.


According to the prosecutor’s office, the businessmen first selected the desired replacement property and then Kalev Kangur and Villu Reiljan saw to it that these properties would reach the hands of the said businessmen through the land exchange process. The opening speech by Feldmanis indicated that the main person behind the entire scheme was former head of the Land Board Kalev Kangur. Former minister of environment took, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, much less in bribes.


All seven defendants were present at the hearing yesterday, including former People’s Union chairman and former Environment Minister Villu Reiljan, who according to the accusation received 700,000 kroons worth of property and benefits, former head of the Land Board Kalev Kangur who received 25 mln kroons wroth of benefits, former Agriculture Minister Ester Tuiksoo who received 40,000 kroons worth of benefits, writes Postimees.

Businessmen Toomas Annus, Tullio Liblik, Tarmo Pedjasaar and Einar Vettus are accused of giving bribes to the state officials. The list of defendants includes also two corporate persons, real estate companies Merko Ehitus and E.L.L Kinnisvara.


None of the defendants admitted guilt and all said they did not understand the essence of the accusations, Õhtuleht wrote. Reiljan said that as a minister, he signed thousands of acts, including land exchange documents but has not asked or received any bribes.


Lawyers forecast that one of the biggest corruption processes in Estonia ever may last for up to 5 years.

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