The criminal case was resolved by an alternative procedure and the sentence imposed on Arumäe is a fine of € 8,688.
Leelet Kivioja, a specialist prosecutor at the northern district prosecutor’s office, requested a financial penalty for Arumäe in the amount of 300 daily rates with a daily rate of 54 €. The prosecutor estimated that under the alternative procedure, the sentence should be reduced by a third, which means that the possible sentence for the former adviser would be equal to 200 daily rates or € 10,800.
Leon Glikman, Arumäe’s lawyer, called the charges unfounded and said Arumäe should be acquitted.
Arumäe pleaded not guilty. Arumäe and his lawyer at the time, Aadu Luberg, claimed that Arumäe had never worked in the Ministry of Rural Affairs. “I do not have [been Mart Järvik’s (EKRE) adviser], I was legal adviser through a lawyer’s contract, “Arumäe told the Postimees daily after the hearing.
“I do not understand this accusation. Proof of official capacity cannot be proved by witness statements, it requires an employment contract or other relevant evidence. I have never worked as an advisor to a minister, “Arumäe said.
Prosecutor Leelet Kivioja called the pun of Arumäe’s defense tactics.
“After all, things can be called by different synonyms, but the point is that under the client contract he was the lawyer fulfilling the mandate, who was hired to advise the minister, among other things, on all kinds of legal issues, including this dispute over the PRIA, ”Kivioja said.
According to Kivioja, it doesn’t matter what Arumäe’s job title is, but the content of his activities.
“Whether he is employed by the ministry or under some form of employment contract, or is in reality a lawyer merely providing legal services, if his work is such that he can guide the minister’s decisions through her and participate in the decision-making process, that’s enough to be a public servant, ”the prosecutor said.
According to the North District Prosecutor’s Office statement of charges, Arumäe, in his capacity as an official, advised the Minister of Rural Affairs on legal matters while simultaneously serving as counsel for suspects in a criminal investigation where the party which had suffered damage was the agriculture registers and information agency PRIA, an institution in the field of administration of the Ministry of Rural Affairs.
The North District Public Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation in November 2019 to find out whether the Minister’s adviser was able to participate as an official in the decision-making and substantive direction of decisions concerning people related to him.
Specifically, Arumäe advised the Minister on granting authorization to the PRIA in criminal proceedings while serving as counsel for suspects in the same criminal investigation. In this case, PRIA asked the Ministry of Rural Affairs for authorization to demand from Arumae clients € 1.1 million in investment aid money.
On becoming an advisor, Arumäe resigned as a lawyer for legal persons, but not natural persons, in the criminal case.
“The prosecution notes that the withdrawal of Urmas Arumae from his duties as a lawyer was only apparent, since although he ceased to represent legal persons, he continued to exercise the duties of lawyer for natural persons who had served on the boards of directors of the same companies. another lawyer working in the same law firm started to represent legal persons. Thanks to this, legal persons continued to be linked to Urmas Arumäe, ”prosecutor Leelet Kivioja told BNS earlier.
According to the prosecution, Arumäe had to be aware of the economic interest of its clients, that is to say the wish of the people it represented not to have to reimburse the pension, which may have influenced its decisions as as adviser to the Minister of Rural Affairs. .
Therefore, Arumäe was aware of the risk of corruption within the meaning of the anti-corruption law.
“In addition, an official must immediately inform his immediate superior of a procedural restriction, which the accused did not do in the said case,” Kivioja also said.
Arumäe was charged with a violation of a procedural restriction on a particularly significant basis, ie for an amount in excess of € 400,000.