The prosecution suspects Kanerva of receiving over 56,000 euros' worth of benefits from companies planning to build shopping centres in his district of southwest Finland, where he chairs a board that is responsible for zoning. Kanerva's 60th birthday celebrations three years ago aroused suspicions of bribery.
Kanerva is accused of bribe-taking and a breach of duty, while four businessmen—Tapani Yli-Saunamäki, Arto Merisalo, Kyösti Kakkonen and Toivo Sukari—are accused of bribing the MP. The prosecutor is seeking prison sentences of seven to 20 months for the men. The graft charges are closely tied to the campaign donations scandal.
The prosecution demands prison sentences of minimum two years for Kanerva, a year and four months for Sukari, a year and eight months for Merisalo and Yli-Saunamäki, and seven months for Kakkonen.
The accused deny all charges.
An MP since 1975, Kanerva has held many ministerial portfolios. He resigned as foreign minister in 2008 amid a scandal over salacious text messages sent to a stripper from his work phone.