Sputnik Meedia Ex-Employees Detained in Estonia, There Is No Contact With Them - Reports

© SputnikSputnik Estonia
Sputnik Estonia - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.04.2022
HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Ex-employees of Estonia-based media outlet Sputnik Meedia were detained in the country, they are suspected of violating international sanctions, the Delfi portal reported.
Their colleagues told Sputnik that it was impossible to contact Elena Cherysheva and Mati-Dmitri Terestal after a search that lasted several hours.
In early March, Sputnik Meedia announced that it was shutting down due to pressure and restrictions from Estonian banks and authorities, as well as threats against its employees. Chief editor Cherysheva said then that for a year banks in Estonia had been freezing employees' salaries and closing Sputnik Meedia accounts on the basis of suspicions of "money laundering, terrorism financing, illegal alcohol sale."
In addition, recently many newsmakers have refused to cooperate with the portal, and the chief editor and employees have been receiving "blatant threats from obscure personalities."
Delfi reported that Estonia suspects Elena (43) and Mati-Dmitri (50) of violating international sanctions. According to criminal case materials, Estonia believes the two handed over to a sanctioned person money that allegedly came from Russia, and also allegedly continued to manage Sputnik Meedia after EU sanctions imposed March 1, 2022.
Presentation of the major international news brand, Sputnik - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.03.2022
Estonia-Based Sputnik Meedia Shuts Down Due to Restrictions, Threats
The detainees' colleagues told Sputnik they had lost contact with them.
"The search lasted until about 10 p.m., it began in the afternoon, around 2 p.m., went on for several hours, after which it has been impossible to establish contact with them," the colleagues said.
Sputnik does not have a comment from the Russian embassy in Estonia yet.
The Delfi portal also quoted prosecutor Taavi Pern, who said a criminal case had been opened on suspicion of economic ties prohibited by international sanctions.
"The European Union has imposed international sanctions for international crimes against the state and people of Ukraine. Violation of sanctions will entail a crime against peace," it quoted Pern as saying. Pern added that the content published on the portal will not be evaluated as part of the criminal proceedings.
Criminal proceedings are conducted by the security police under the direction of the prosecutor's office.
Sputnik Meedia was created by former employees of Sputnik Estonia, which, after four years of operation, was closed two years ago due to threats from the Estonian police.
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