Urmas Reinsalu, the chairman of the centre-right Isamaa party, currently in the opposition, wrote on social media that the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, didn’t have another option than to immediately resign, in the wake of the revelations that a company partly owned by her husband had continued to do business in Russia and also delivered metal goods that are now sanctioned.
“This scandal is spreading internationally and harms Estonia’s interests and image,” Reinsalu said.
According to Reinsalu, what’s been published thus far shows that the prime minister’s husband has been involved in a large-scale business during Russia’s war in Ukraine and has supplied Russia with materials that are now sanctioned. “The prime minister is morally approving this business and has also lied while defending it,” the chairman of Isamaa wrote.
“On Wednesday, the prime minister claimed her husband’s company isn’t conducting any freights in Russia. Now we know that since the beginning of the large-scale war (in Ukraine – Editor) the income from these freights have been €1.6 million. Second, the prime minister claimed the freights were goods from a factory that is closing down and no goods were delivered to Russia. That claim, too, is false. The company has moved goods worth of €30 million to Russia and empty trucks have allegedly returned.”
Reinsalu deducts that in a wider scale, the company has become more active rather than passive, adding that some metal goods that are now sanctioned, have been delivered to Russia sixty times more since the beginning of the war than a year earlier.
The chairman of Isamaa also touches the moral aspect of the scandal. “The prime minister assured that all this business activity is moral. [At the same time,] this business is logistically served by a company where the prime minister’s husband has a stake, where the prime minister herself gave a large-scale loan (Kaja Kallas lent €370,000 to her husband’s company – Editor),” Reinsalu notes.
“The company that is under the prime minister’s moral defence can be illustrated by a statement from one of its owners: ‘How else?’ responds Martti Lemendik, the owner of the scandalous Metaprint (the partner company of Stark Logistics, a transport company partly owned by Kaja Kallas’s husband Arvo Hallik – Editor) and the business partner of the prime minister’s husband, to the question, why did he use a Cypriot shadow company to conduct business in Russia. At the same time, the shadow company service was provided by a company that is in the sanction list in Ukraine.”
According to the Estonian Public Broadcasting, Kallas’s husband personally acquired road permits for Russia – to conduct freights carrying metal products that are now sanctioned, Reinsalu asserts. “The reason given is that the home of the prime minister’s husband was located near the freight operators’ association. Were these permits kept at the prime minister’s home?”
“Many untrue claims are also surfacing. According to [Estonian news portal] Delfi, the prime minister’s husband said that they had discussed with colleagues whether their activities are moral. Another owner or the company refutes that: ‘Such a conversation has not taken place,’ says Lemendik, confirming that Stark has never held a discussion whether the freights to Russia are ethical in today’s state of war.”
According to the Estonian Internal Security Service, the companies tied to the husband of the Estonian prime minister haven’t violated any sanctions, the country’s public broadcasting reported.
“As far as the Internal Security Service knows, the companies linked to the husband of the prime minister haven’t violated any sanctions,” the spokesperson for the security service, Marta Tuul, told the Estonian Public Broadcasting, adding that the service will not give any moral assessments.