Helsinki District Court ordered two Slovenian citizens remanded in absentia in a bribery case involving the Finnish armaments manufacturer Patria.
Investtigator Kaj-Erik Björkqvist of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said that an arrest warrant for the men has been issued.
Björkqvist notes that Slovenia’s legislation on criminal investigations and coercive measures differs from that of Finland. “We hope that with an arrest warrant we can get them to participate in the preliminary investigation”, Björkqvist says.
One of the two wanted Slovenian citizens is an artist, and the other is a businessman.
The case involves a contract for the purchase of Patria armoured vehicles by the Slovenian armed forces.
Patria is suspected of having secured the deal by paying bribes to Slovenian officials and politicians.
During the Finnish investigation, officials found confidential business information of Patria’s Austrian competitor Steyr Mannlicher, which was in the possession of members of the Patria management.
The NBI and the Slovenian police have set up a joint task force to investigate the bribery allegations.
The armoured vehicle deal, worth EUR 280 million, was signed in 2006.
Patria’s former CEO, Jorma Wiitakorpi, faces charges ranging from aggravated bribery to industrial espionage.
A total of ten Patria employees are suspected of involvement in the bribery. Most of them have been remanded in custody during the investigation.
Björkvist expects the preliminary investigation to be concluded by the autumn, and possible charges are expected to be filed next year.