A remarkable figure filled with European Court of Human Rights verdicts and a frequent visitor at Supreme Court of Estonia, Mr Paala is well versed in rights-related conventions and texts. Having done time himself, he is equally passionate to defend the rights of inmates as of himself.
He used to have a company called Bureau for Protection of Those Illegally Repressed. Like some other firms of his, it is by now bankrupt and liquidated. Since 2008, his signature of three crosses. In the top twenty of Tax Board arrears list, there stand three Paala-related firms owing a total of almost two million euros.
Having battled the Tax Office from 1996, and featured in the media on-and-off ever since, this February the Supreme Court website again featured Mr Paala (52) and cited sums altogether absurd.
Just some examples of a fresh Supreme Court verdict of 50 pages of coverage. Like a Paala-linked firm named Rosneft Eesti which in 2009 sold for €3bn (!) to another Paala-related company a project containing know-how for construction of ten open-sea platforms, their installation and operation. From the transaction, Mr Paala and partners wanted VAT returns of €540m. Tax administrator did not cooperate.
This and other mega transactions were taken by prosecutor’s office to be a facade for cheating the state out of money. While county and circuit courts found the statements by Mr Paala trustworthy, Supreme Court laughed him to scorn as referring to the size of sums in proportion to Estonia’s then GDP and the planned transactions amounting to half of state budget.
Mr Paala’s court sessions are emotional with ambulance once summonsed due to allegedly failing health. By prosecutors, Mr Paala is seen as a peculiar client indeed. Some suggest the oversized sums may be part of facade to hide other stuff.
Deeming him to be a wise and intelligent individual, they do not understand why he would not find some useful and fruitful activity.
Is he into real business as well? Prosecutors have no reason to claim otherwise as, for instance, in 2007 and 2008 his clients featured a wealthiest Estonian businessman Oleg Ossinovski whose groups Spacecom and Skinest Rail paid his form close to 31 million Estonian kroons for mediation, consultation and other services.
Regarding the authorities, Mr Paala has a lot to complain about. Like: «How can it be that when an individual is in prison and on hunger strike and his blood sugar is low, to forcefully do an anti-schizophrenia injection? This is life-threatening when an individual is famished.» That was in Tartu Prison. With that, Supreme Court granted him the victory. «But they never even apologised,» he said, referring to such behaviour being characteristic of totalitarian regimes.