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Soini: Viinanen to continue in post, swift investigation underway

Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini says that Jarmo Viinanen, Finland’s ambassador to Sweden, will continue in his post for the time being, but hopes his ministry will get to the bottom of the sexual harassment charges that have been posed against Viinanen as quickly as possible.

Timo Soini
Timo Soini Image: Petteri Paalasmaa / AOP

Finland’s ambassador to Sweden, Jarmo Viinanen, has been accused of sexual harassing embassy staff and guests in Stockholm. The tabloid Iltalehti broke the story on Wednesday, reporting that at least one woman who worked for Viinanen in Sweden had left her job early in the year.

The paper tried to contact the ambassador, but he replied that he was on holiday and would not comment further. Viinanen’s schedule says he will be away from his office on official visits and holiday until August 30.

One month deadline

Foreign Minister Timo Soini said his ministry is investigating the incident and commented on Wednesday in Pori that he hoped to have the matter resolved by the time he meets with the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström in Stockholm in one month’s time. He says he hopes he needn’t have to discuss the incident at that time, so he can concentrate on the original reason for the meeting instead.

Soini also confirmed that Viinanen will continue as Finland’s ambassador to Sweden until the ministry’s investigations are complete.

“He is still in his post at the moment. For legal protection reasons, we are obliged to hear Viinanen’s reply to the charges and proceed in an orderly manner. A case of this nature cannot be downplayed or excused away,” the foreign minister said.

A serious matter

Soini said he has already known about the case and the ministry’s investigation for some time. He hopes to get the matter off the agenda as quickly as possible.

“I would like to see the matter resolved as quickly as possible. It is not in anyone’s interests that something like this would run on for a long time,” he said.

As minister, Soini is not involved in the ongoing investigation of the case. He nevertheless commented that a suspicion of sexual harassment is a serious matter.

“We have zero tolerance for these kinds of things. We cannot accept this kind of treatment from anyone,” he said.

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