Reform Party Caught Up in 'Dirty Money' Scandal (4)
Eestlased Eestis 22 May 2012  EWR
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Ott Tammik, ERR News
Silver Meikar, a former member of Parliament and currently an adviser to the Institute of Human Rights, has admitted to funneling roughly 7,600 euros in questionable donations to the ruling Reform Party in 2009 and 2010.

Coming clean in a newspaper article, Meikar said the money wasn't his and he didn't know where it came from at the time, reported Postimees. Without naming names, Meikar said dozens of party members have donated funds to the Reform Party in a similar fashion, including other members of Parliament.

Meikar was allegedly approached by the former Reform Party secretary general, the current Minister of Justice Kristen Michal. The funds, Meikar said, were provided to him in cash by MP Kalev Lillo, then a leading figure in the party. Meikar said he made six illegitimate payments to the Reform Party in 2009 and 2010.

“They did not receive direct personal profit from the transactions and it is tough to say 'no' when one's party asks for help. But it is their fault and mine that by agreeing and keeping quiet we have allowed this system of money laundering to operate successfully,” Meikar said.

“People who wish to support a party because of their worldviews can do it honestly and publicly. They are proud and they have nothing to hide. But the businessman who wishes to conceal his donations has other incentives,” Meikar said.

Last December, minister Michal wrote an article in Postimees asserting that party funding regulations in Estonia are sufficiently strict and that the problem lies in a few dishonest people.

Former justice chancellor Allar Jõks has said that accepting covert funding is not criminally punishable under the current Political Parties Act. Even in its amended form, he told ERR radio on Monday, the act is "decent, but not perfect" in defining exactly is allowed and what is prohibited.

Meikar has been a member of the Reform Party for 15 years.
 
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