Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Savisaar File

A full analysis coming tomorrow; for now, here is my translation of the Estonian security police's statement regarding the mayor of Tallinn, Edgar Savisaar, and his campaign financing from a Russian state company.



21.12.2010 nr 98T

Early Deletion of Confidentiality from State Secrets

Based on section 1 and section 3 subsection 9 of paragraph 13 of the State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States Act, section 3 of paragraph 6 of the Minister of Interior Affairs’ regulation nr 55 of December 10th 2009 “General regulation of the Department of Security Police”, and proceeding from section 1 of paragraph 2 and paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Security Authorities Act, as well as the need to fulfill the legal duties placed upon the Department of Security Police to prevent damage to state interests by notifying the public, I am executing an early deletion of confidentiality from information that was restricted as “Secret” in accordance with subsection 1 section 4 paragraph 7 of the Government of the Republic’s regulation nr 262 of December 20th 2007 “Procedure for Protection of State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States”, which no longer requires protection from publication in the interests of ensuring the security of the Republic of Estonia, to the following extent:

Financing the Lasnamäe Orthodox Church

On February 9th 2010, the president of JSC Russian Railroads, Vladimir Yakunin, took part in the Railroad Forum that took place in Estonia. During a dinner on the same night, which was attended by Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar, Tallinn deputy mayor Denis Boroditch, Vladimir Yakunin, and chief of staff of the president of Russian Railroads Vladimir Bushuyev, E. Savisaar asked V. Yakunin for financial support for the construction of an orthodox church in Lasnamäe, Tallinn. V. Yakunin expressed an agreement to make the investments, asking first for a more exact calculation of the money needed for the construction. E. Savisaar presented a preliminary calculation, according to which the requirement was for 13,5 million kroons, which would be enough to finish the church’s façade. During the same visit V. Yakunin met with Metropolitan Kornelius of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (hereafter EOCMP). During the visit they agreed that on the Moscow side, the issues of the church shall be handled by V. Bushuyev, who will need to determine the person who will deal with construction issues on the Russian side and notify D. Boroditch of this. The person in question turned out to be businessman Sergei Petrov, who was engaged in the coal business in Estonia through AS Petromaks Spediitor.

The decision to provide support in the amount of 1,5 million euro for the construction of the Lasnamäe orthodox church was made public during the visit of Russian Railroads president Vladimir Jakunin on February 9th, 2010.

Between February and October of 2010, approximately 13,5 million kroons were transferred from accounts of Sergei Petrov’s companies to the accounts of EOCMP, for the specific purpose of constructing the church.

Only on November 26th, 2010 a tripartite contract for the financing of the Lasnamäe orthodox church was signed by the St. Andrew Foundation, EOCMP and the Tallinn City Government.

Asking for Money for the Center Party Election Campaign

On May 10-11, 2010, E. Savisaar and Center Party MP Vladimir Velman visited Moscow, where they arranged for V. Yakunin’s visit to Estonia in June.

On June 23-24, 2010, V. Yakunin visited Estonia. V. Bushuyev arrived in Estonia as early as June 22nd, 2010. On June 23rd, 2010, V. Bushuyev, S. Petrov, Jevgeni Tomberg and D. Boroditch visited the construction site of the Lasnamäe church. On the evening of the same day, V. Yakunin arrived in Estonia, to take part in the midsummer bonfire at Edgar Savisaar’s Hundisilma farm.

On the morning of June 24th, the guests participated in a motorboat pleasure cruise in Tallinn Bay. During the pleasure cruise, V. Yakunin notified D. Boroditch of the fact that “you won’t get the 3 you asked for, but you will get 1,5”.

Next on the itinerary was a visit to the Kiltsi manor compound in Lääne-Virumaa county. At the manor compound, E. Savisaar, D. Boroditch, V. Bushuyev, S. Petrov and V. Yakunin stepped aside, on the suggestion of the latter, for a private covert conversation. During the conversation, V. Yakunin announced that the Center Party would receive support for the Estonian parliamentary elections in the amount of 1,5 million euro. 1/3 of that would be delivered in cash, the other 2/3 by wire transfer, based on invoices. At the same time V. Yakunin stressed to all participants that the deal must not be discussed anywhere by anyone. During the conversation, S. Petrov on one side and D. Boroditch on the other side were assigned as persons responsible for the delivery and legalization of the money.

On September 13th, 2010, E. Savisaar and D. Boroditch visited Moscow and attended a dinner at the Russian Railroads residence, which included V. Yakunin, V. Bushuyev, D. Boroditch and E. Savisaar. Several topics were discussed during the dinner. Among these were: the financing of the Lasnamäe church, the progress of the church’s construction, the timing of the various stages of construction in conjunction with the upcoming parliamentary elections, their tie-in with the elections; the importance and significance of the Dialogue of Civilizations conference on Rhodos; how Russia can officially, by sending its delegates, support the execution of the Rural People’s Congress that was being organized in Estonia by the Center Party. In addition to the above, the Center Party financing scheme was also discussed during the dinner.

E. Savisaar confirmed the agreement from Kiltsi manor in July: 1/3 in cash and 2/3 in wire transfers, mentioning that paying the entire sum in cash could also be resolved. After that, V. Yakunin demanded that all further dealings proceed with absolute covertness, referencing his extensive experience in operational work. The demand involved a complete ban on using phones to discuss issues of the money delivery, arranging meetings, and other sensitive issues.

On October 27th, 2010, S. Petrov arrived in Estonia and actively sought contact with D. Boroditch. As the latter was not present in Estonia, the contact attempt failed. On the next day S. Petrov left Estonia, notifying V. Bushuyev immediately upon arrival in Moscow that the planned meeting with D. Boroditch was not successful.

Based on the above, the Department of Security Police had sufficient basis to believe that the Russian side is actively seeking contact to deliver the money to the Center Party. Considering also the circumstance that the anniversary event of the Estonian Railroad on November 4th, 2010, was due to include a visit by V. Yakunin and V. Bushuyev, a decision was made on November 3rd 2010 to conduct conversations with Edgar Savisaar and S. Petrov, who was arriving in Tallinn on the same day.

During the conversation that took place on November 3rd, 2010, E. Savisaar’s attention was called to the opportunity for his person and party to be compromised, inherent in asking a foreign state for money for the party, and the associated security threats.

On November 4th, officers of the Security Police conducted a similar conversation with D. Boroditch, who had previously been on vacation.

On November 6th, 2010, a conversation took place between E. Savisaar and V. Yakunin, discussing the need to sign a tripartite contract to legalize the money provided to support the Lasnamäe church and avoid a possible scandal.

On November 26th, 2010, the Lasnamäe church financing contract was signed. V. Bushuyev arrived in Tallinn from Moscow for this, carrying a contract signed in Moscow by Sergei Scheblygin, president of the St. Andrew Foundation. The signatures of representatives from the Tallinn City Government and the EOCMP were gathered on the contract by Jevgeni Tomberg. On the next day, mayor Edgar Savisaar presented the contract at the Tallinn City Government.

Raivo Aeg

Director General

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