Economic relations with Russia come with additional dangers

Deputy head of the Internal Security Service (ISS) Eerik Heldna said that in dealing with Russia, it is impossible to distinguish between state powers, secret services and organized crime.

“The biggest problem we, as a security service see with our eastern neighbor is that not one sector which is important to our transit sector, infrastructure and energy above all, have been built up according to free market rules,” said Heldna on Wednesday.

He said many people behind those Russian companies (trading with Estonia) are connected to security organizations and organized crime. “It is a symbiosis. They use each other for protecting their interests,” Heldna said.

The biggest danger is the uncertainty behind the business partner’s motivation, he said, adding that it is never clear if any deal is just economic or are there more sinister reasons that will come back to bite you.

Heldna said not all economic relations with Russia are bad or dangerous, and Estonia’s geographic location must be used to the nation’s advantage, but that uncertainty is an additional factor.

Source: ERR via Estonian Review

Imprisoned former KAPO official convicted of additional crime

Indrek Põder, a former high-level official for the Internal Security Services who was sentenced to prison for bribery and influence peddling in 2012, has been convicted of leaking sensitive information and received three-month prison term that will be added to his existing four-year prison term, reported Postimees.

Põder’s case is considered the worst-ever working accident of KAPO since 1991.

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Elite unit to combat large-scale economic fraud

Central Criminal Police is setting up a separate unit to fight major economic fraud and has allocated 300,000 euros in wages to attract the best minds, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

The unit’s head Janek Maasik says that the unit’s objective is to improve Estonia’s economic environment as it will focus on the most complex and severe fraud cases such as large-scale tax evasion, fraudulent bankruptcies, economic fraud committed by cyber crime, etc.

The unit will be headed by Janek Maasik who has battled fraud in South Prefecture of the Police and Borderguard Authority. The team will be manned by anti-fraud specialists of the central criminal police, experts of the tax and customs authority and former staff of KAPO. The unit will have about 50 officials who will be located around Estonia.

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Criminal police arrests head of Estonian mafia

In one of its largest operations against organized crime, the Estonian criminal police on Monday arrested several members of the Estonian mafia, including its head Assar Paulus, writes Postimees.

In the operation that was prepared for around six months, the criminal police arrested about twenty Estonians who are suspected being mobsters.

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Tallink in the middle of scandal in Sweden over executive’s statement

The statement made by Vahur Ausmees, head of personnel and development in Tallink Group, in which he seemed to imply that it was women’s fault if they get drunk and are raped, has caused a major scandal in Sweden.

In an interview to TV4 Nyhetern on reports of rape on passenger ferries, Ausmees said that women should be aware that when they drink alcohol they could fall victims of a rape.

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Number of prisoners drops below 3,000

The number of people kept behind bars in Estonia has dropped below 3,000 for the first time since the restoration of independence in 1991, figures released by the Justice Ministry show.

As of  March10,2014, imprisoned persons numbered 2,980. The figure was 3,123 at the end of last year, 3,371 at the end of 2012, 4,410 in the middle of the last decade and 4,576 ten years ago.

The number continued decreasing in the first two months of this year, dropping to 2,980 by Monday. Of this number 2,442 are convicts and 538 detainees.

While the number of imprisoned persons has kept declining in Estonia mainly as a result of a drop in the number of detainees, it is still almost double the EU average, Jako Salla, adviser on criminal policy at the Justice Ministry, said in January. “In the EU only Latvia and Lithuania come ahead of Estonia when it comes to the number of imprisoned persons. To achieve the average level of the EU, we should have about 1,500 imprisoned persons,” he told reporters.

Source: BNS / Estonian Review

Number of card frauds lowest in Estonia

In Estonia the number of bank card frauds is the smallest within the Eurozone, it appears from a report published by the European Central Bank on  Feb.25.

In 2012 card fraud increased within the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) for the first time since 2008, driven mainly by higher internet fraud. In that year one euro in every 2,635 euros spent using credit and debit cards issued within SEPA was lost to fraud. Compared with 2011, the total value of fraud increased by 14.8 percent in 2012, reaching 1.33 billion euros.

In 2012 around 5,400 frauds in the amount of 900,000 euros were connected to cards issued in Estonia. Although the number of transactions connected to fraud in Estonia increased by 8 percent, the percentage of frauds of all card transactions remained at 0.002 percent. The number of frauds carried out with debit or credit cards issued in Estonia is the smallest among Eurozone countries, spokespeople for the Bank of Estonia said.

Four in every 1,000 Estonians fell prey to card frauds and the average loss was about 160 euros. In SEPA 17 fraud cases for every 1,000 residents were registered while the highest number of frauds was recorded in France — 46 for every 1,000 residents.

In Estonia the biggest number of card frauds or 43 percent of all cases took place in ATMs.

Estonians have on average 1.3 bank cards per resident while in Europe the number is 1.4 cards per resident. In Estonia on average 189 card transactions are made per resident while in Europe the number is 103.

Source: Estonian Review / BNS

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