In the midst of corruption charges against his political party, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas declared his resignation from his position.
The Public Prosecutor of Estonia alleged that Centre Party members, including Secretary-General Mihhail Korb, had engaged in ‘influence-peddling in Porto Franco linked to real estate growth.’
According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Estonian businessman Hillar Teder decided to donate up to EUR 1 million to the Centre Party in return for the right to create a car park for the production of real estate.
‘The information gathered from mid-January last year to the present relates to various offences, on the basis of which public prosecutions against people accused of a crime were launched today,’ Chief Public Prosecutor Taavi Pern said in a Facebook post, also laying out other charges of money laundering.
‘I made a decision today to resign as prime minister,’ Ratas, who is the party chairman, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday after an hours-long meeting of the party board.
Ratas said he hoped that his resignation would help ‘shed light and clarification on all the circumstances.’
The 42-year-old maintained that he had not made “any malicious or knowingly terrible mistakes.”
As head of government, in the Porto Franco situation, I did not feel that any minister or party had attempted to sway the decisions of the government in an unlawful direction,” Ratas said in his statement.”
President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia now has 14 days to nominate a new prime minister, who will then have to be approved by parliament.