Prime Minister Juri Ratas
14 January 2021
Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas has announced his resignation taking responsibility for corruption allegations against his Centre Party. Judicial authorities are investigating into a state credit agency, KredEx loan of $48 million to Teder’s Porto Franco real estate project development by Old City Harbor in Tallinn. Prior to the loan there was a donation of €120,000 by the developer to the political party. Porto Franco said in 2020 it needed the loan, because the business was hit by the coronavirus crisis. But there were many businesses that struggled as much, if not more. This is an indirect way of financing the party from government funds.
Four people were taken into custody on Tuesday (12 Jan 2021) including party secretary general. Mihhail Korb, Kersti Kracht, an adviser to the finance minister and a real estate developer, who was a regular donor to the party. The prosecutor general said that there is no reason to suggest that Ratas himself is under suspicion.
Estonia’s far-right interior minister, Mart Helme, resigned in November last year, a day after he called President-elect Joe Biden and his son Hunter “corrupt characters” without providing further details or evidence. Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, criticised this statement by Helme. However his son remains as Estonia’s Finance minister after winning a no confidence by the opposition parties. Estonia’s president and prime minister congratulated Biden and Harris.
Estonia’s president has asked the leader of the main opposition party, Reform Party, to form a new government after Juri Ratas and his Cabinet stepped down. Reform Party said it would start official government formation talks with the Center Party. Together, the two parties would muster a majority at the 101-seat Parliament.