Finns Party MP ‘Brother Christmas’ guilty of fundraising offenses

Ari Koponen was charged with fundraising without a permit. He says all the money he raised went to people in need.

File picture of 'Brother Christmas' Ari Koponen / Credit: Brother Christmas FB

A Finns Party MP has been found guilty of fundraising offenses at East Uusimaa District Court.

Ari Koponen who does charity work using the pseudonym ‘Brother Christmas’ was charged with fundraising €24,000 in 2016, and another €180,000 in 2017 without the required permits. Koponen and two co-defendants had denied the charges against them.

The freshman MP has now been fined 15 day-fines, a total of €1035.

“I was found guilty for helping too much. If I had helped less, I would have survived without a judgment against me” the politician wrote on Facebook.

Koponen, who was elected to parliament in April, made a name for himself in Finland for  charity acts visiting sick children and cheering them up with jokes and toys while wearing a white Santa Claus-style beard.