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Appeals Court keeps fine on ex-Customs boss

Published : 07 Nov 2019, 02:04

Updated : 07 Nov 2019, 09:49

  DF Report

The former Director General of Finnish Customs, Antti Hartikainen. File Photo Finnish Customs.

The Helsinki Appeals Court on Wednesday upheld a fine imposed by a lower court on Antti Hartikainen, former director general of the Finnish Customs, although the number of charges brought against him in the case was reduced.

The court also ruled that the ex-Customs boss was guilty of negligent misconduct rather than official misconduct.

The Helsinki District Court in early May, 2018 convicted Hartikainen of nepotism and slapped him with a fine of EUR 950 in a case regarding the recruitment of his wife.

The court found him guilty of official misconduct when he in November 2015 failed to leave an executive meeting where his wife’s fixed-term employment contract was indirectly discussed.

The court imposed the fine of 10 days, although the prosecutor sought 20 days fine.

In the verdict the judge observed that Hartikainen had overlooked the law, but that he had not done so intentionally.

Earlier, the Ministry of Finance said Hartikainen might possibly have attempted to influence the recruitment of his wife.

The ministry said it had inquired about the hiring of Hartikainen’s wife.

A report handed by the Customs to the Ministry of Finance said Hartikainen defended his wife’s hiring and even used a threatening tone during a meeting in September 2012. At that time, the wife had applied for a job at the Customs but had not yet been hired.

Hartikainen’s wife got a job at the Finnish Customs in October 2012 and since then her employment has continued periodically.

At the same time, it became clear that there are problems at the Customs, such as in leadership, recruitment practices, working atmosphere. and personnel wellbeing, observed the ministry.

Contrary to the previous district court decision, the appellate court found that Hartikainen was guilty of negligent misconduct, but that he had not acted deliberately.