Crushing bankruptcy proceedings corrupt Seppik family

The Central Criminal Police on Tuesday detained former Interior Minister Ain Seppik (69) and his sons Siim Seppik (42) and Sulev Seppik (46) on suspicions of offering a bribe and their business partner. PHOTO: Postimees

Former Interior Minister Ain Seppik and two of his sons are suspected of offering to bribe a trustee in bankruptcy.

The Central Criminal Police on Tuesday detained former Interior Minister Ain Seppik (69) and his sons Siim Seppik (42) and Sulev Seppik (46) on suspicions of offering a bribe and their business partner Indrek Raudsepp (56) on suspicions of mediating a bribe.

The criminal case treats with an alleged attempt to bribe trustee in bankruptcy Martin Krupp. Because the latter is not a suspect at this time, it can be concluded that Krupp did not go along with the crime. Information available to BNS suggests the case concerns the bankruptcy of Hexanor OÜ that has ties to the Seppik family. The fourth suspect, Indrek Raudsepp, is a member of the board of Hexanor.

According to suspicions, the trustee was promised a bribe of €100,000 of which €25,000 changed hands. Ain Seppik refuted the allegations, telling news portal Delfi that the sums were a natural part of bankruptcy proceedings as was paying the trustee.

Seppik refused to give Postimees an interview or answer the question of whether the sum treated as a bribe constituted a fee on which the trustee had agreed. Seppik’s legal counsel Dmitri Teplõh also had no comment.

Leho Laur, head of the economic crimes unit of the Central Criminal Police, told Kuku radio program “Sihik” that various conspiratorial tactics had been employed by Seppik and his sons.

“Initial suspicions suggest that a bribe of more than €40,000 was offered in exchange for a favorable resolution of bankruptcy proceedings and to rule out claims against private persons. That was the expected outcome.” Suspicions have not been brought against Martin Krupp.

“Yes, astute people might point out that if a bribe was given, someone must have taken it. But as I said before, it is impossible for me to disclose any more information about other persons or companies,” Laur said.

The bureau chief said that bribery is a complex and carefully hidden affair in modern times. Elaborate schemes involving legal persons are often employed when it comes to white collar crime, with attempts to hide final beneficiaries and decisionmakers. “Yes, conspiratorial methods have been used also in this case and these activities have not been easy to find,” Laur said.

Ain Seppik is a former police chief, judge, prosecutor and interior minister. “It is regrettable we have been forced to bring suspicions against someone with Seppik’s background and history. A colleague we might say,” Laur added. “But the police and prosecution cannot make decisions based on a person’s past services and position, financial situation or influence. It doesn’t matter who the person is.”

State Prosecutor Sigrid Nurm moved for the arrest of Siim Seppik and Indrek Raudsepp on Wednesday evening as the Prosecutor’s Office finds they might continue committing crimes if at large.

The Harju County Court refused the request on Thursday.

The prosecution will decide whether to challenge the ruling in circuit court once it has analyzed the first tier court’s position.

The proceedings are being conducted by the Central Criminal Police.

Ain Seppik was a member of the Center Party in 1998-2012 and has been a member of the Reform Party since 2013.

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