Two Reform Party members charged over a property scam

05.06.2012, 16:00

The case against two Reform Party members - Veigo Gutmann, governor of the Rae municipality, and former deputy municipal governor Meelis Kasemaa - who are accused of attempting to profit from a property scheme while in public office has gone to court, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

One aspect that is strange in this case is that the prosecutor declared both men suspects in the property scheme already two years ago, in September 2010.

The transaction itself took place five years ago, in 2007.

Prosecutor’s office claims that it was a complicated case which it took two years to take the case to court.

Gutmann and Kasemaa are charged for having changed the designated purpose of a land property located at Tallinn-Tartu highway just outside Tallinn from agricultural production land to commercial and housing land while being shareholders in a company that owned some of the property.

According to the prosecutor, while in public office, the two men helped to push through a detailed plan that changed the designated purpose of the land.
In January 2007 a company that belonged to Gutmann and Kasemaa paid 7.5 million kroons for property and re-sold it in May 2007.

Both men would have earned major profits from the deal, but the develop that had bought the land went bankrupt and was unable to pay them the amount that they had agreed.

Commenting the charges, Gutmann who is still working in a management position in the Rae municipal government, said that he had no plans to resign.

„But this is today. Tomorrow I may think differently,” he told Eesti Päevaleht.

Gutmann added that he would like to discuss the charges with his attorney since all this is too fresh.

„I will stick to what I have said before. Prosecutor can charge, it is its right and duty,” he said.

Also Kasemaa, former deputy head of municipality, said that it was too early to comment on the charges.

„We will be able to say something in a few weeks when we have discussed it with our lawyers,” said Gutmann.