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Former Finnish PM Vanhanen to face corruption probe

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Former Finnish PM Vanhanen to face corruption probe

2010-10-12 19:31:22 GMT+7 (ICT)

HELSINKI, FINLAND (BNO NEWS) -- Former Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen will be investigated after the Finnish Parliament on Tuesday requested authorities to conduct a probe on suspicion of corruption.

Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka asked the Constitutional Law Committee of the Finnish Parliament to decide whether or not a preliminary police investigation was necessary to look into a possible conflict of interest that Vanhanen may have had when he took part in a decision on the distribution of revenues from the state-owned Finnish Slot Machine Association (RAY).

Even though the infraction on Vanhanen's part may be minor, Jonkka and the Prosecutor General felt the investigation was warranted. On Tuesday, the committee decided to ask for a police investigation.

One of the recipients of RAY money was Nuorisosäätiö, a youth housing foundation with close ties to Vanhanen's Center Party. The foundation gave a considerable donation (over 23,000 euros or $30,000 dollars) to Vanhanen’s presidential election campaign in 2006.

The committee is requesting that the investigation be launched as quickly as possible so that the present Parliament, whose term runs out in March next year, will have the chance to take a stand on it.

Hannes Manninen, a Center Party member of the parliament stated that the committee could have investigated the matter on its own without involving the police, and three other Center Party members endorsed the statement.

However, he did not make a counterproposal, yielding to the committee's formally unanimous decision on the investigation.

Furthermore, the committee’s chairman Kimmo Sasi did not feel that Manninen’s idea that the committee should have investigated the matter on its own, would have been realistic. Both Sasi and the committee’s deputy chairman Jacob Söderman emphasised that the investigation process is at an early stage.

"It is possible that there will be new twists in the investigation. Do not think that a court of impeachment is around the corner," Söderman said.

Vanhanen's presidential campaign failed in 2006, and as he stepped down as Prime Minister in June.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2010-10-12

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