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Booming booze business in port steered from interior ministry

COMMENT PRINT ARTICLE
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PHOTO: Mihkel Maripuu

This January, a top interior ministry official bought from a company with hidden owners and registered in Panama the alcohol and grocery store Harbour Market (Sadama Turg) operating in the A-gate of Tallinn passenger port and aimed at Finnish clients.

Literally, national official Kersti Maurer has her hand on Estonian pulse. While as head of crisis management policy department head, Ms Maurer moves NATO and crisis management documents, her business activity guarantees the satisfaction of tourists wishing to buy alcohol in Tallinn.

Thereat, Ms Maurer remains modest and even in important issues desires to stay out of limelight. «I acquired shares of Harbour Market at the start of January 2016. This is an investment. As shareholder, I do not participate in daily management of the company,» said Ms Maurer, explaining why she wanted not to meet the journalist.

Kersti Maurer took over Harbour Market from a Panama-registered company Giraffe Trading, the owners of which stay in the shadows and regarding whom even closest business partners say next to nothing. Kersti Maurer, for one, told Postimees she had no legal basis to comment data on Giraffe Trading.

Not the only one

Interior ministry says Kersti Maurer is but one among the 35 employees at the ministry who are involved in business and the management of the ministry detects no conflict of interests between her work and business. «At interior ministry, leadership is aware of business activity of Kersti Maurer,» said communications adviser Karin Kase. «Pursuant to Civil Service Act, an official has the right to act as entrepreneur or shareholder, provided that no conflict of interests arises and time-wise it does not hinder the official to do her duties.»

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Harbour Market doing well

Financial results in thousands of euros

2014    2013    2012    2011

Turnover              292      291      255      125

Profit                   72        69        82        112

Source: commercial register

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