Security Police leadership suspected of concealing involvement in Sonera snooping
New twist to Sonera case
An investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has apparently implicated Seppo Nevala, the head of Finland’s Security Police (SUPO), and Petri Knape, the head of the operative section of SUPO, in an attempt to cover up Security Police involvement in the suspected tracing of telephone records by the telecommunications service provider Sonera.
Nevala sharply denies any wrongdoing, and points out that the whole investigation was sparked by a report drafted by SUPO itself.
One SUPO worker has been interrogated on suspicion of dereliction of duty and incitement to violate communications privacy. Two people working in the security sector of Sonera have been questioned on suspicion of violating communications privacy.
SUPO’s top leadership is under suspicion of failing to take action upon learning of the unlawful activities of the former head of a security police regional unit, who is suspected of acquiring telephone records from the Sonera security department in 2000. Digging up such information normally requires the permission of a court.
Investigators say that Nevala and Knape are under suspicion because the SUPO detective involved told them about the activities about two years later. Investigators into the case are considering whether or not Nevala and Knape should have understood that the snooping was illegal.
Nevala says that the issue was investigated immediately, and that he trusted in the results of an internal investigation in SUPO, which came to the conclusion that nothing illegal had happened.
The report of the internal investigators was not submitted to the Prosecutor-General’s office until the autumn of 2003, after Nevala had received further information about the case. The Prosecutor-General’s office then asked the NBI to investigate possible illegal acts on the part of SUPO.
Police investigations into the possible SUPO role in the matter are in their final stages, and State Prosecutor Ari-Pekka Koivisto is to decide on whether or not to proceed with the case.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Allegations of illegal tracing of phone records at Sonera to go to trial in autumn (8.4.2004)
Finnish Security Police seek new role (28.12.2003)