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Slovenia's ex-PM Jansa jailed over Patria bribes

A Slovenian court has sentenced the country's former prime minister Janesz Jansa to two years in prison for taking bribes from the Finnish defence firm Patria. The company, which faces separate legal proceedings in Finland, said that it found the sentences surprisingly harsh.

Slovenian pääministeri Janez Jansa lokakuussa 2012.
Slovenian pääministeri Janez Jansa lokakuussa 2012. Image: Thierry Roge / EPA

Jansa and four other government officials were accused of accepting money from Patria in exchange for defence contracts worth nearly 280 million euros. The alleged graft first came to light in 2008 in Yle's MOT programme.

The deal involved a 2006 contract for more than a hundred armoured personnel carriers, Slovenia's largest defence procurement at the time. A consultant who worked with the company in Slovenia has recently been convicted in Austria.

Patria said today that the verdict in Slovenia came as a surprise.

“Sure the verdict was a surprise, as these judgements always are,” said Patria’s head of legal affairs Sirpa Helena Sormunen. “They are very difficult to predict.”

“If there has been proof there, the court’s verdict is definitely just according to the local judicial practices,” noted Sormunen. “On a personal level, the verdict is harsh on those people.

'Zero tolerance' for corruption

Sormunen also claimed that her company has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on corruption. Patria is confident the Slovenian court’s decision will not affect the Finnish cases, which will start in mid-August.

“The Finnish courts will make its own deliberations,” said Sormunen. “Judicially the two cases are not directly linked. We will strive to ensure that work is undertaken with a neutral relationship towards judgements handed down in other countries.”

Prosecutor Jukka Rappe agreed that the Slovenian verdicts would not directly affect proceedings in Finland.

Patria also faces a preliminary investigation into a similar deal agreed with Croatia. The Finnish state is the majority owner of the company.

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