Finland’s former Attorney General Matti Nissinen has admitted a breach of responsibilities when he played a part in handing a lucrative contract from his department, to a company run by his brother.
Nissinen made the admission in a written statement to a Helsinki court on Tuesday.
However, he denies there was a deliberate effort to commit a crime.
The Supreme Court started hearing the case today, with Deputy Attorney General Kimmo Hakonen, who is prosecuting the case, seeking fines for Nissinen’s breach of duty.
Matti Nissinen was charged with misconduct, and accused of awarding lucrative staff training contracts to a company owned by his brother, after a corruption investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation NBI.
The brother’s company, Deep Lead Oy, says on its website that it offers “an extensive range of comprehensive training solutions for the development of the individual, group and organization”.
Deep Lead received €74,000 between 2007 and 2015 – including a period of time before Matti Nissinen took up his job in 2010.
At the beginning of the NBI’s investigation, Nissinen was suspected merely of being negligent with the training contracts. Later, the police came to the conclusion that Nissinen had understood he was acting unlawfully.
The Prosecutor General is Finland’s senior prosecutor and has the power to nominate district-level prosecutors; participates in developing legislation; gives general instructions to prosecutors; and oversees prosecutions.
Nissinen was already serving a suspension from his job before the official charges were filed.
Defence: No Damage
Nissinen’s lawyer Jarkko Jaatela says the actual contract was above board, but the only mistake was that Nissinen participated in the decision-making.
Nissinen states in his reply that he himself participated in some of the leadership education classes run by his brother’s company, back in 2005. When he became head of the Eastern Finland prosecutor’s office, he decided to purchase education from Deep Lead because he was so leased with the course.
When the decision to buy the education was taken, it was Nissinen himself who made the decision.
Nissinen also actively participated in a similar purchase when he was a prosecutor. At that time, Nissinen and Deputy Prosecutor Jorma Kalske agreed that Kalske should take the decision over the deal instead of Nissinen, because of the family connection with his brother’s company. it was considered that Nissinen had a conflict of interest.