A Finns Party Member of Parliament Ari Koponen is on trial at East Uusimaa District Court today, facing charges relating to his charity fundraising work as ‘Brother Christmas’.
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.
Prosecutors say Koponen and two co-defendants raised €24,000 in 2016 and another €180,000 in 2017 without the required permits.
Other, more serious charges relating to financial irregularities were dropped before the trial got underway.
The defendants deny the allegations against them.