Tallinn's lawsuit wants Äripäev to give away 1/5 of FY profit

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Photo: Äripäev.

The city government of Tallinn has decided to go to court over claims published in the Friday and Monday editions of Äripäev and to seek that the daily give up 20 percent of its yearly profit in damages.

The city government dismissed as untrue the allegations published by Äripäev to the effect that the city government had been aware of, and approved of corruptive actions committed in the city.

The city government said the size of its claim in the lawsuit will be 20 percent of the profit of Äripäev group, which Tallinn would spend to pay Christmas bonuses to teachers of the city's kindergartens.

Given that Äripäev posted a net profit of almost a million euros for 2012, the sum that the city government is after totals approximately 200,000 euros.

Ain Saarna, PR director at ther city government, said that hopefully the court will make its decision still before the end of 2013.

"We have every reason to believe that if investigating authorities, the prosecutor's office or the court had found the slightest grounds in the context of the case of Ivo Parbus and Elmar Sepp, or whatever other case, to accuse the leaders of the city it would have been done without hesitation. The problem however was that there wasn't anything more and now Äripäev is trying to make up for that political defeat," Saarna said.

"Unrestrained publication of claims of corruption in the media damages not only the interests of Tallinn as a legal person, of the city's leaders, officials and entrepreneurs, but also of all residents of the city, and the city government cannot acquiesce in this. By circulating its delusions Aripaev is poisoning the city's business environment and it is a duty of the city government to defend the city against this by all legitimate means," said Saarna.

Äripäev said in the article published on Friday and Monday that the corruptive transactions exposed in the city had taken place with the knowledge and approval of the city's top leadership.

The conviction for graft of Parbus and his co-defendants including Elmar Sepp became final earlier this month as the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals lodged against the verdicts of lower courts.

The regional court slapped at the end of March 2012 a non-suspended jail sentence on Parbus for bribe-taking and partially non-suspended sentences to individuals found guilty of having engaged in criminal activity with him. The former municipal official was found guilty of most bribe-taking episodes and sentenced to a real jail term of three years of which he had served six months during the pre-trial investigation.

Sepp was found guilty of incitement to and aiding in bribe-taking for which he was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment of which five months was to be served immediately and the rest was conditional with four years' probation.

The Center Party, which governs alone in the capital city, on May 8 threw both men out of its ranks.