Center Party to return money to Tallinn in Savisaar's place

Andres Einmann
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Photo: Toomas Huik / Postimees

The precept issued to the Center Party's ex-chairman Edgar Savisaar by the committee for supervision over the financing of political parties to return to the City of Tallinn nearly 120,000 euros will be fulfilled by the Center Party.

"The party informed in a letter immediately before the meeting that it will fulfill the precept issued to Edgar Savisaar in his stead," Zoja Masso, financial adviser to the committee, told BNS on Thursday.

She said that in line with a wish of Center, the committee offered the party an instalment plan whereby the party would pay one-fourth of the required amount by the 15th day of every month over a four-month period starting Feb. 15.

The party financing supervision committee in January 2015 ordered Savisaar, then mayor of Tallinn and chairman of the Center Party, to pay the city back over 116,000 euros spent on election ads ahead of the 2013 local polls, eliminate deficiencies in the party's report on the financing of the 2013 campaign and provide proof of these requirements having been met.

Savisaar contested the precept in a court of law. The Supreme Court's refusal on Nov. 10 last year to handle the former party leader's appeal meant that the precept became final.

Center Party hopes to withhold money to be paid for ex-leader from his salary

The Center Party expects to get back the nearly 120,000 euros that it will pay into the coffers of the City of Tallinn on behalf of its former leader Edgar Savisaar by withholding a part of the salary the party has agreed to pay to its ex-chairman.

"We are still in negotiations with Savisaar so that he would return over a certain period of time the money that we are about to pay to the City of Tallinn. The salary agreement is stalled behind this too. Should he agree, we would sign a salary agreement and would withhold a certain portion of the salary," Jaak Aab, secretary general of Center, told BNS on Thursday.

Aab said the Center Pary has been unable to agree with Savisaar about the payment of a monthly salary of 3,500 euros to its former leader and that the party's plan to start withholding a part of the pay is one of the reasons why no agreement has been reached.

"We've made a number of proposals to him - but there's been no clear answer," Aab said.

The Center Party announced on Thursday that it will pay the city the nearly 120,000 euros that the committee for supervision over the financing of political parties has ordered to be to returned by Savisaar as money he used for his personal campaign in the 2013 municipal polls.

"Yes, we are ready to return that money on Savisaar's behalf because Savisaar himself will not do it," Aab said. "The governing board of the party discussed it and gave the committee a promise to this effect."

"If Savisaar does not pay, the claim will be directed towards the Center Party in three times the original amount," the secretary general of Center said. He said the party finance committee made a proposal already at the end of last year to bring the Center Party into the procedure of claiming money from Savisaar. "We don't want this and we will rather pay that money for Savisaar without a multiplier being applied," Aab added.