Constitutional Law Committee did not find evidence of aggravated crime in activities of former PM Matti Vanhanen (UPDATED)
Committee can nevertheless take view that former PM acted wrong
The Constitutional Law Committee of the Finnish Parliament is reportedly coming to the conclusion that the investigation into activities of former Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has not found acts that would merit bringing charges against Vanhanen in a court of impeachment.
The committee appeared to be close to a unanimous resolution on Tuesday on the issue of a possible conflict of interest on Vanhanen’s part.
Although the threshold for bringing charges against Vanhanen is not reached, the committee can write into its record the opinion that Vanhanen was wrong to have been involved in a decision to allocate money from the proceeds of the state-owned Finnish Slot Machine Association to the Nuorisosäätiö youth housing foundation.
The foundation has close ties to the Finnish Centre Party, which Vanhanen chaired while he was Prime Minister, and it also contributed money to Vanhanen’s Presidential election campaign in 2006.
Vanhanen had once been the foundation’s chairman.
Therefore it would seem that the committee feels that there was a conflict of interest, but that the act was not serious.
Committee chairman Kimmo Sasi expected already on Tuesday that the committee would reach a unanimous decision today, Wednesday.
A few details remained open on Tuesday, but there was no indication that the group had found any evidence of crimes serious enough to call for the convening of a court of impeachment.
The key goal in the committee’s work is to make a legal assessment on whether or not Vanhanen should have disqualified himself from involvement in the funding decision, if he had deliberately or negligently committed a punishable offence, if the activity was aggravated or not, and whether or not the act was minor.
A final decision on the matter is to be made by plenary session of Parliament, which has the power to overrule the committee.
The Constitutional Law Committee duly announced on Wednesday morning that it had reached a unanimous decision on the matter, and that there would be no call for charges against Vanhanen in a court of impeachment.
A press conference has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Prosecutor General: No charges against Vanhanen (19.1.2011)
Vanhanen and Kaikkonen silent about alleged misdemeanours at Nuorisosäätiö (10.10.2009)