Neinar Seli sent before court

Neinar Seli

PHOTO: Peeter Langovits / Postimees

State Prosecutor Steven-Hristo Evestus brought charges in Harju County Court against Neinar Seli, chairman of Port of Tallinn council, regarding donation to Estonian Olympic Committee (EOK).

The prosecutor is accusing Port of Tallinn chair and EOK president Neinar Seli in breach of limits of procedural restrictions to a large degree, said office of the Prosecutor General press representative Kadri Tammai.

For large-scale violation of procedural restrictions regarding Anti-corruption Act, Penal Code prescribes a fine or imprisonment up to one year.

Mr Evestus sent the charges to Harju County Court on March 21st. According to Ms Tammai, the prosecutor is unwilling to reveal details of the charges prior to deliberation of the criminal case in court. It is not clear, at the moment, when the court will deliberate details of the criminal case.

The suspicion was issued towards Mr Seli this February. Then, Mr Seli said he saw guilt.

«I see no contradiction with the law. As I become EOK president, I withdrew myself from sponsorship committee and did not participate in the voting of the item in agenda, at the council meeting, which is now causing problems for the ministry. Also, earlier as EOK vice president, I have not participated in decisions regarding transfers regarding EOK,» Mr Seli said in February.

Last November, Central Criminal Police launched criminal proceedings to investigate decision made by Port of Tallinn council at end of October, and cancelled in November, to grant EOK €250,000.

At the end of October, council of Port of Tallinn granter EOK €250,000 towards Estonian Yachting Union and Estonian Athletic Association as seasonal support, for Estonian Ski Association for Sochi Olympic Games, and for Paraolympic Committee for preparations for  the 2016 games in Rio.

At the time, economy and communications ministry said they seriously doubted whether the decision was based on interests of Port of Tallinn as an enterprise, and whether this was in accordance with law and good business management practice.

At the end of 2012, Postimees wrote that economy minister Juhan Parts saw conflict of interests, as both Port of Tallinn council and EOK were lead by Neinar Seli. Mr Seli, however, said there was no conflict of interests. «This is a fabricated reason; I see no conflict of interests in supporting sports; here, other backgrounds need to be sought,» Mr Seli said then.

In November, council of Port of Tallinn decided to cancel the decision made at the end of October. In a press release issued by the company, Mr Seli said the board and the council had strictly followed the law in sponsorship, and that the cancellation of the decision was in the company interests and so as to avoid possible public confrontation between Port of Tallinn council and its general meeting.

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