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Timonen admits threatening icebreaker bosses

Arctia Shipping executives were told they would lose their jobs if they did not drop the case against Greenpeace protesters -- a key event that outgoing minister Heidi Hautala failed to mention in her account of the incident.

Tero Vauraste
Tero Vauraste Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Pekka Timonen, who was the head of the Government Ownership Steering Department last year, threatened two top executives of a state icebreaker company with firing if they did not withdraw a criminal complaint against Greenpeace activists who staged protests on the firm’s vessels.

Those threatened were Arctia Shipping CEO Tero Vauraste and board chair Matti Virtaala. The story was first reported by the Finnish News Agency STT on Friday afternoon.

That followed a press conference in which Greens politician Heidi Hautala announced her resignation – but did not mention the threats. She released an otherwise detailed statement recounting the events which led to her stepping down.

Timonen later confirmed the account to Yle. He is now a department head at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

Greens MP Oras Tynkkynen said that the threats were meant to be included in Hautala’s statement, but that the detail had been inadvertently been left out.

Arctia Shipping, the fully state-owned company that originally filed the criminal complaint, has declined to comment on the events.

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