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Patria ex-bosses face bribery charges

Six former employees of Finnish defence firm Patria face bribery charges related to a controversial deal to sell armoured vehicles to Slovenia. The specific offences are aggravated bribery and corporate espionage.

Patrian ajoneuvotehdas Hämeenlinnassa heinäkuussa 2004.
Image: Mika Kanerva

Charges have already been brought in Austria and Slovenia in relation to the deal. Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation and Finnish prosecutors have been co-operating closely with their Austrian and Slovenian counterparts.

The charges relate to a 2006 deal to sell 135 armoured vehicles to the Slovenian military for nearly 280 million euros. Patria employees are suspected of bribing senior officials in Slovenia to secure the deal.

In all, five people will face bribery charges in Finland, including the managing directors of Patria Oy and Patria Vehicles Oy. Four will face charges of corporate espionage.

The case is being handled by the Office of the Prosecutor General. Jukka Rappe, of the prosecutor's office, refused to say exactly who the prosecution believes was bribed.

He said that some of the payments were not made directly to the intended recipients, but rather went through intermediaries. He said that could still be considered bribery if officials had a close relationship with a person who received payments.

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