Businessman Kari Uoti gets prison sentence after ten years of court hearing
Brother Jussi walks free
The city of Salo District Court on Tuesday sentenced businessman Kari Uoti to six months and 20 days imprisonment in an extensive series of economic crimes. The verdict comes after ten years of court hearing.
In the same trial, former Interbank CEO Juha Sorvisto was sentenced to a year and six months imprisonment. Sorvisto and Kari Uoti were also ordered to pay damages of more than EUR 11 million to the asset management company Arsenal-SSP.
The court acquitted Kari Uoti’s brother Jussi Uoti on seven counts of aggravated tax fraud and dishonesty as a debtor. The court cited lack of evidence, and that the charges expired. Six of the counts brought against Kari Uoti were dismissed on the same grounds.
Charges against four others were also dropped for statute of limitations reasons. One defendant was given a 60-day suspended sentence for bookkeeping irregularities.
The court took the long duration of the case into consideration by cutting Kari Uoti’s prison time by one third, and Sorvisto’s time by half. In Kari Uoti’s case, the court also considered the six-year term handed down by Helsinki District Court in 2001.
Kari Uoti can get no more than a total of seven years imprisonment for all of his financial crimes, which means that if he is convicted in a current case pending in Helsinki concerning alleged concealment of funds, his sentence will be less than six months imprisonment.
All of the sentences handed down in Salo on Tuesday are linked with court cases emerging from the demise of the Lounais-Suomen Säästöpankki savings bank, and the bank’s credit arrangements and fund transfers. LSP, the leading bank in the Salo region, suffered credit losses of nearly one billion Finnish markka, or about EUR 160 million, in the early 1990s.
Also expired were charges brought against Hannu Paronen, former CEO of LSP. Prosecutors had called for a sentence of year and a half for Paronen.
The case involved more than 20,000 pages of written material. The court’s ruling was more than 600 pages long; a summary of just 40 pages was read out in court on Tuesday, which took four hours.
"Here in Salo they have clearly more competent judges than in Helsinki", said Jussi Uoti when he learned of his acquittal.
The last of four prosecutors in the case, Anja-Riitta Rinkinen said that she was pleased that Kari Uoti and Sorvisto were sentenced for the "main crimes" in the case - aggravated fraud. However, she regretted that "many crimes were left unpunished" because the process had lasted so long.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Kari Uoti pleads not guilty at money laundering trial (10.1.2006)