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HKL boss not suspected of official misconduct in election advertising scandal

Helsinki Police will not launch an investigation into the removal of Finns Party election posters from bus stops and HKL vehicles.

Perussuomalaisten vaalimainoksen päälle on vedetty teipit Helsingin Viipurinkadulla.
Finns Party posters criticised as being anti-immigrant were removed from bus stops and vehicles in Helsinki. Image: Sini Järnström/ Yle
Yle News

The Helsinki Police Department has announced that they will not launch a preliminary investigation into the actions of City of Helsinki Transport Authority (HKL) CEO Ville Lehmuskoski, in the removal of the Finns Party’s election advertisements from HKL vehicles and bus stops.

On June 8, the Finns Party requested an investigation into the actions of the City of Helsinki Transport Authority and the company handling outdoor advertising, JCDecaux. The Finnish Transport Agency and the company removed Finns Party election ads after their anti-immigrant sentiment sparked controversy.

The party had entered into an election campaign agreement with the outdoor advertising company, and the ads were in place for about a week before HKL and JCDecaux removed them by mutual agreement.

The party’s request for an investigation was aimed at finding out whether a city official should have made an administrative ruling in the removal of the ads. No such ruling was made, so the party wanted to determine if there was reason to suspect misconduct.

The request for an inquiry also sought clarification as to whether there was discrimination involved, and what the political motives of the city official were, in that case.

"In our opinion, this has not been a case in which failure to produce a ruling would lead to a criminal offence. It has been a matter of interpretation of a contract term, and the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act do not apply to such. There is also no reason to suspect discrimination or any other crime in the matter," said director of the investigation, inspector Teemu Jokinen, in a statement

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