ISS detains two senior officials of Eesti Energia's Estonia mine

Ida-Virumaal asuv «Estonia» kaevandus.

PHOTO: Tairo Lutter / Virumaa Teataja

The Estonian Internal Security Service on Tuesday detained two middle-level managers of the Estonia underground mine of the state-owned energy group AS Eesti Energia.

The detained middle managers were responsible for the maintenance and repairs of equipment and transport equipment in the mine. The officials are suspected of violating an obligation to comply with financial interests which resulted in severe loss for a state company.

"At present officials are carrying out procedural acts in the Estonia mine, including actions which are connected to the utilization and disposal of property in the area of responsibility of the detained persons. The main thing that is inspected is how the equipment and parts purchased for the mine through of procurements have been used later," the prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

In addition, inventory of the warehouses in the area of responsibility of the detained persons is being checked in cooperation with the company's risk management and internal audit officials.

According to Antti Aitsen, the special cases prosecutor at the Viru Regional Prosecutor's Office, the aim of the proceeding is to create an honest business environment and through that support all honest entrepreneurs.

At present more specific investigation details cannot be disclosed in the interests of the investigation.

Eesti Energia has decided to terminate employment contracts with the two middle-level managers of the Estonia underground mine who are suspected of corruption citing loss of confidence.

"It is an unfortunate incident and we will terminate employment contracts with the two suspected employees due to loss of confidence. Eesti Energia is an honest and transparent company, and we don't tolerate dishonest behavior," chairman of Enefit Kaevandused Ahti Puur told BNS.

"We will fully cooperate with investigation authorities in the framework of the incident to ascertain all details regarding the incident," he added. The company does not want to comment on the case more as a criminal investigation is ongoing.

Spokesperson for the Viru district prosecutor's office Jelena Filippova told BNS that in the interests of the investigation the prosecutor's office cannot disclose information regarding the damage or possible timeframe of the incident.

The middle-level managers are suspected of causing significant material damage to Eesti Energia, and according to the Penal Code significant material damage is at least 40,000 euros.