Prosecutors charge Vaino Pentus, Siim Roode in Autorollo case

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Photo: Meelis Meilbaum / Virumaa Teataja

The North district prosecutor's office has charged Vaino Pentus and Siim Roode with offenses committed in connection with the insolvency of the road haulage company OU Autorollo.

Pentus, owner and manager of Autorollo, and Roode, the barrister who dealt with the insolvency, are accused of actions resulting in a significant deterioration in the company's solvency and aggravation of permanent insolvency, as well as use of counterfeited documents. Pentus has been additionally charged with violation of the obligation to maintain accounts and embezzlement, spokespeople for the regional prosecutor's office said.

Pentus was the sole owner and board member of OU Autorollo from July 28, 2008. On April 26, 2010, Roode became the company's sole owner and de-facto manager. According to the charge sheet, the financial situation of the company was very bad by the time it changed hands and Roode together with Pentus arranged for moving assets out of the business to prevent their sell-off against claims by creditors and to free Pentus of a personal guaranty of loans. The removal of assets mainly had to do with the removal of four trucks and 11 trailers from the asset list of OU Autorollo.

According to the charges, OU Autorollo thereby lost title to property worth at least 2.36 million kroons (EUR 151,000) but was relieved of obligations worth just 0.88 million kroons. The damage thus caused to the company by Pentus and Roode amounted to 1.5 million kroons or 94,000 euros.

Besides Roode and Pentus used fake loan agreements in the company's bookkeeping to free Pentus of potential claims under civil law, it appears from the charges.

Besides Pentus has been charged with appropriation of the money received from the sale of a Ford Tourneo belonging to the company and violation of the obligation to maintain accounts. According to an expert who examined the accounts of OU Autorollo, the books of the company were maintained in an unreliable manner, which significantly complicated obtaining a true picture of the company's financial standing in 2009–2010.

"The prosecutor's office has indicted only those persons in whose case there are grounds to accuse them of a criminal offense on the basis of evidence gathered in the course of the pretrial investigation, and in this specific criminal investigation the accused are Vaino Pentus and Siim Roode. Rain Rosimannus and Keit Pentus-Rosimannus were questioned as part of this investigation as witnesses," district prosecutor Vallo Kariler said.

The case of the insolvency of Autorollo has been in the public eye for several years following allegations that Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, former minister of environment and now minister of foreign affairs, and her husband Rain Rosimannus arranged for the transfer of the troubled company of Keit Pentus-Rosimannus's father Vaino Pentus to Roode.

Keit Pentus-Rosimannus has repeatedly denied having had any connection with the management of Autrollo.

The pretrial investigation of the case was handled by the office for the investigation of economic crimes of the central crime police and the proceedings were overseen by the North district prosecutor's office.

(EUR 1 = EEK 15.65)