The supervisory board of the Enterprise Estonia foundation decided yesterday to recall the newly-appointed management board member Andres Rannamäe who was hired only two weeks ago.
Shortly after Rannamäe was elected member of the foundation's management board, the prosecutor's office received information that Rannamae could be connected with the embezzlement of thousands of euros of research funds.
Rannamäe was the head of research company Nordbiochem between 2008 and 2013. That company received two million euros from Enterprise Estonia during that period. Nordbiochem cooperated with Russian company Invivo, which claims the Estonian company owes them 570,000 euros, money that was instead transferred to a company in Luxembourg in 2010, Eesti Ekspress reported last week.
Rannamäe said Invivo asked for the funds to be diverted to Luxembourg, but the Russian company said the request was a forgery.
According the authorities, Rannamäe might have faced a certain conflict of interest as head of Enterprise Estonia because the agency has a right of recourse against the research company Nordbiochem he headed in 2008-2013.
The vote to recall Rannamäe was not unanimous, winning only by six votes to five.
"I still think Andres Rannamae was the best candidate in this competition," Cinzia Siig, head of the supervisory board, said.
Siig said that the agency's image has already been tarnished, whether Rannamäe is found guilty or not.
She added that an investigation into suspicions he was involved with defrauding 570,000 euros from research funds, is yet to begin.
The supervisory board of Enterprise Estonia will await the plans of the newly-appointed foreign trade and enterprise minister, Anne Sulling, before starting to look for a new member of the management board, Siig said.
"We did not discuss on Thursday the topic of new chief or organizing a new competition, we'd rather await the new minister's plans," Siig said.