Estonia's top pro-Russian politician indicted with corruption

22nd September 2015, Comments 0 comments

Estonian justice authorities on Tuesday pressed corruption charges against controversial Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar, who also heads the largest opposition party popular with the Baltic EU state's large Russian minority.

"This morning the internal security service presented Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar with charges of repeated bribe-taking," Ilmar Kahro, spokesman for the state prosecutor's office, told AFP.

Savisaar allegedly took bribes in 2014-15 in the form of "assets and favours for himself and other persons, valued at several hundred thousand euros (dollars)," Kahro said.

Savisaar's ill health has posed a challenge for his pro-Russian Centre party. The 65-year-old had part of his leg amputated earlier this year after being hospitalised in critical condition with a severe infection.

Commanding 27 seats in parliament, his party is mainly backed by the ethnic Russian minority, accounting for one quarter of the country's population.

Savisaar, an ex-communist, was Estonia's first prime minister in 1991-92 after it gained independence from the crumbling Soviet Union.

Tensions between tiny NATO member Estonia and neighbouring Russia have surged since Moscow's March 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russia rebels and the government.

© 2015 AFP

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