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Kanerva’s bribery sentence overturned

The Helsinki Court of Appeal has overturned MP Ilkka Kanerva's sentence for acceptance of bribes.

Ilkka Kanerva valokuvassa vuonna 2011.
Ilkka Kanerva at court over bribery charges in November 2011. Image: Yle

In April 2012, the Helsinki District Court handed the Former Foreign Minister a 15-month suspended sentence for aggravated acceptance of bribes. The sentence was overturned by the Helsinki Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning.

The Court of Appeal also overturned the sentences for aggravated bribery of three businessmen, Arto Merisalo, Tapani Yli-Saunamäki and Toivo Sukari. The District Court had sentenced Merisalo and Yli-Saunamäki to long prison terms.

The bribery case centred on the businessmen’s sponsoring of Kanerva’s lavish 60th birthday party celebrations in 2008, and campaign funding received by Kanerva for parliamentary elections in 2007.

In 2012, the District Court found Kanerva guilty of accepting tens of thousands of euros worth of gifts from the executives, who were seen to thereby gain influence over Kanerva’s actions as chair of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland. Among other things, the council has decision-making power over the zoning of new shopping centres.

The Court of Appeal, however, saw no evidence for bribery in the case.

Kanerva relieved

The National Coalition Party MP was satisfied with the new ruling.

“This was an extremely long and also painful process,” Kanerva commented, adding that it was a great relief to be finally freed.

The former minister also said he had great appreciation and faith in his own attorney and the Finnish judicial system. He would not comment on possible further proceedings that might be initiated by the state prosecutor.

Kanerva also noted he would definitely return to the Turku City Council in the autumn.

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