Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' husband will sell stake in Russia-oriented business

Photo: Marko Saarm

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' husband Arvo Hallik, who has caused a government crisis with his Russia-oriented business, announced on Friday that he will sell all shares in Stark Logistics and withdraw from the company.

"In the light of the media coverage that has emerged, I understand that my business activities, shareholding and work in Stark Logistics, a company that has been carrying out transport services from Estonia to Russia for our client AS Metaprint, have raised questions that, regardless of the answers, will affect my wife’s work," Hallik said in a statement.

"Therefore, I have today agreed with the other shareholders of Stark Logistics to immediately sell all my shares back to Stark Logistics, resign from the company's board of directors, terminate my contract as CFO and relinquish all roles and responsibilities and hand them over to other employees," he added.

According to Hallik, this company has been a major part of his life's work for the last 14 years, and as an entrepreneur and CFO he has always acted within the law and in accordance with his best knowledge and values.

"We discussed the issue of transport for our client on several occasions, and we believed that we were doing the right thing, helping the right people and saving a good Estonian company, otherwise we could not have done it. I understand that for many people in Estonia this does not seem so -- and vice versa -- it does not seem moral, in the light of Russia's war of aggression," he added.

"I apologize for the situation that has arisen and for the damage it has caused to my wife. I assure everyone that my wife was not aware of my business activities. We have discussed all this in the light of the media reports this week and her assessment has been clear -- there are no circumstances whatsoever to justify these shipments. But stopping the shipments is no longer enough for me. I cannot take responsibility for my client and my business partner any more than any company could know everything about its client. In these circumstances, it is better for me to withdraw from Stark Logistics and from the company altogether," Hallik said.

He also considered it necessary to clarify once again the issue of the so-called loan.

"The prime minister has previously declared in her declaration of economic interests that she has lent 350,000 euros to my company -- and this was repaid in instalments over the summer. My company used this and the remaining capital to make various financial investments -- but the substance of these investments has never been the subject of any discussion between us. During the summer the loan was repaid," Hallik said.