WHO IS INTERESTED IN ARREST OF ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN TRANSPORT FIRM'S CEO?

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TALLIN, April 9 (RIA Novosti) -The arrest of Oleg Ossinovsky, CEO of the Estonian-Russian company AS Spacecom, on charges of a cartel collusion was instigated by his competitors from the Eesti Raudtee (the Estonian Railways) annoyed by the loss of their monopoly in the rail freight transit sector, alleges the Eesti Paevaleht newspaper.

Ossinovsky was detained for 48 hours by the Security Police (KAPO) in the Tallin airport Wednesday immediately on his arrival from Moscow.

The prosecutors justified the arrest by the necessity of undertaking preliminary investigative actions in relation to Ossinovsky suspected of a cartel collusion with regard to using the Eesti Raudtee tariffs in the framework of the criminal inquiry launched on February 2.

On Friday, Ossinovsky was released from custody.

"Ossinovsky is suspected of practicing unfair competition. As a rule, it is the Competition Agency that deals with such cases but in this particular case it was the KAPO, which unequivocally leads one to conclude that Ossinovsky poses a threat to the national security," the Eesti Paevaleht writes in its Saturday issue.

According to the newspaper, "businessmen engaged in the freight transit industry openly say that KAPO has sent an unambiguous message to all Russian entrepreneurs that they had gone way too far, with Ossinovsky's arrest meant to make it crystal clear who rules the country.

"Experts are certain that the assurances made by representatives of Eesti Raudtee who claimed that they had no idea why Ossinovsky had been arrested and that they had nothing to do with the case hold no water," the Eesti Paevaleht points out.

By law, in 2005 the Eesti Raudtee (the 66% stake of which belongs to the US-based Baltic Rail Service and 34% to the Estonian state) should forfeit its monopoly for rail freight transit. Estonia's Railway Inspection ruled that starting May 2005, nearly half of the country's rail freight traffic should be transferredfor operation to the AS Spacecom, Westgate Transport OU and AS Russian-Estonian Rail Services companies (closely associated with Russian capital) which had offered a better service bid.

AS Spacecom is part of the Russian Severstaltrans company. It specializes in rail freight transit. In 2004, AS Spacecom became the first company granted the right of using the Eesti Raudtee infrastructure after winning an open competitive tender.

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