Parliament’s administrative director Pertti Rauhio says he is looking into reports that Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen from Viitasaari in Central Finland, is said to be renting a sauna facility as his second home in Helsinki.
MPs whose electoral district and permanent home are outside of Helsinki are entitled to an additional allowance for costs if they occupy another home in the capital region.
However according to a report published by tabloid daily Iltalehti on Monday, Hakkarainen is said to be renting a sauna facility and not a flat. The owner of the sauna, National Coalition Party MP and Chief Inspector Dennis Pasterstein, the head of police department’s Traffic Safety Centre, has reportedly been renting the space to Hakkarainen and another Finns Party MP, Ville Vähämäki.
"It was rented to them as a sauna. I don’t know what they do there. They probably use it as an meeting space. The rent is cheap – 695 euros," Pasterstein told Iltalehti.
Pasterstein said that the sauna was not meant to be used as a living space. Vähämäki lives in a separate flat in the same building with his partner.
MPs who reside in the Helsinki and Uusimaa electoral district receive a monthly allowance of 986.81 euros to cover work-related expenses.
Lawmakers from other parts of the country receive between 1,315.74 and 1,809.15 euros, depending on whether or not they maintain a second home. The allowance rises by 500 euros for MPs who claim a second home.
'Best flat I've had in Helsinki'
However, Hakkarainen, who was recently convicted and fined for sexual assault of National Coalition MP Veera Ruoho, had informed the Parliament’s administrative and services division that the space was his second home. According to IL, he claimed the space was being used for residential purposes.
"I think it’s good to be there. It’s the best flat I’ve had in Helsinki," he declared.
IL spoke with the head of parliament’s administrative division, who said it was not yet possible to say whether or not the sauna met the criteria for a second home.
"We have to look into the matter," Rauhio added.