Lawyers of Savisaar see ray of hope

Oliver Nääs

PHOTO: Mihkel Maripuu

Lawyers defending Edgar Savisaar are hopeful to kill criminal case against the Centre chairman with just one move – asking that the initial evidence, the basis for all the rest, be declared invalid. 

This would be the piece of information acquired by  security police which afterwards triggered the whole criminal case – by eavesdropping a private conversation between then Mayor of Tallinn Mr Savisaar and Meriton Hotel owner Aleksander Kofkin at the Balalaika.

While talking about the food, a topic slipped in which made police ears perk up. It was about business interests of Mr Kofkin, more specifically of how he might extend rental of facilities at Town Hall Square, Tallinn and owned by the city.

After years of eavesdropping on Mr Savisaar, this for the security police seemed to be a sign that the mayor was involved in issues outside of official responsibilities. According to investigative version, by way of payment, Mr Kofkin afterwards paid part of trip to Spain by Mr Savisaar and then girlfriend and Riigikogu member Siret Kotka.

While Mr Savisaar is contesting that, the main issue is the method of acquiring the information may not have been legally justified and thus the basis for all the rest of the case would fall off. And that is what lawyers for defence of Mr Savisaar such as Oliver Nääs are banking on.

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What about the method

In Estonia, security agencies are allowed to eavesdrop on people and institutions outside criminal procedure to prevent danger and in the interests of security. For this, special permission is granted by an expert administrative judge. All related information and related issues (such as statistics) is state secret.

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