The most valuable part of what security police has collected, this past year, is extracts of bribes-related conversations between Port of Tallinn chief Ain Kaljurand and his deputy Allan Kiil.
Yesterday, Harju County Court was granted a glimpse of the classified material, to then decide whether it was prudent or unnecessary to keep the men under arrest. Security police and public prosecutor’s office say this is vital to avoid affecting witnesses. Lawyers of port chiefs say a definite no as all evidence is already settled.
Without too much guesswork, the preliminary investigations may be summed up as follows: with boss Ain Kaljurand aware, deputy head Allan Kiil was busy creating corrupt business contacts and collecting money. This the suspects categorically deny.
It was possible to make money wherever the port had required interest – charter parties, container transport, building contracts and the like. If the description of the suspicion be believed, Mr Kaljurand and Mr Kiil succeeded in creating a network of sorts between companies granting them hefty additional returns.
When paying, the givers of bribes were often not overly happy, but felt forced. Postimees does not know how sincere the suspected six arrangers and givers of bribes were when interrogated by security police, but it is a telling fact that public prosecutor’s office did not apply for them to be further arrested.
This was one side of the matter. The other, and allegedly weightier part of the investigation concerns the facts related to islands-mainland ferryboat procurement. State Prosecutor Laura Feldmanis said that criminal procedure was indeed launched this year, but security police had taken an interest towards activity of port managers before that. However, the claim is not true that corruptive deals reach back to 2009.
Postimees has been told that security police interest basically coincides with the time that the news came out about Port of Tallinn desiring to participate in the ferryboats operator competition. Now they are talking about the port managers interested in afterwards secretly participating in activities of companies linked to operating the vessels like catering, supplies, creating and administrating the ticket sales system etc.
The heftiest haul, however, was on horizon regarding the building of the ferries. Four ferryboats, built in Poland and Turkey for €120m is a choice morsel for any shipyard. According to suspicion, Allan Kiil as the one personally involved in the building contract may have had material interests in the project.
As alleged to Postimees, the sum amounts to millions of euros. To verify the suspicions, initial investigative procedures were performed in the Polish shipyard Remontowa Shipbuilding on Thursday, said BNS.
Due to the character of Mr Kiil’s job, his share of accusations is bulkier. Regarding his boss Mr Kaljurand, the suspicions are limited to description of business schemes and the observation that he understood it all.
The exact amount of bribes pocketed by port managers is not evident in the suspicion act submitted to court yesterday. According to prosecutor Laura Feldmanis, the sum will probably be disclosed at today’s press conference when the court has decided whether it is substantiated or not to keep the men under prolonged arrest.
Lawyers lament lack of information
As for counsels of the accused, they are arguing against further arrest of course. «Allegedly, all evidence has already been collected and what else is there to conceal here? Nothing,» said Mr Kaljurand’s counsel Paul Keres as he exited the courthouse.
He said the suspicion does not talk about activities of Mr Kaljurand, but rather about transactions between other entrepreneurs which – said he – do not concern Mr Kaljurand whatsoever.
«On the other hand, they cover Mr Kaljurand’s communication with alleged givers of bribes, but they have not written about any definite act,» said the other criminal defence counsel of Mr Kaljurand, sworn lawyer Leon Glikman.
According to Mr Glikman, they are yet to see the evidence and are therefore in an unequal position. «I have very limited information. I need to guess stuff that the prosecutor knows,» protested Mr Glikman.
According to sworn lawyer Aivar Pilv defending Allan Kiil, the prosecutor in her speech made too much use of phrases as «there’s is basis to believe», «there is basis to assume» etc.
«Interestingly, while the suspicion was presented and during interrogations, nothing was asked about these definite facts which the prosecutor attempted to lean upon when seeking arrest and to claim that some facts have been collected by surveillance,» said Mr Pilv. «The collection of a whole list of facts was very hypothetical. If in certain transactions between companies it is assumed that profit was to be made, but nothing is proven, then anybody may be blamed for somebody’s hidden interest in some deal.»