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Finland pulls ambassador from Sweden over sexual harassment claims

Finland has recalled its ambassador to Sweden following allegations that he sexually harassed staff and guests at the Stockholm mission. The Foreign Ministry says Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen has been re-assigned to other duties.

Jarmo Viinanen
Image: Petri Puskala / Yle

Finland’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that its ambassador to Sweden, Jarmo Viinanen, has been re-called from Stockholm and re-assigned to other duties. The move follows reports that Viinanen was suspected of sexual harassment of staffers and guests at the embassy in Stockholm.

According to Foreign Minister Timo Soini, Viinanen’s prospects for continuing in the post had deteriorated, so he proposed fast-tracking a transfer to a ministerial post for the diplomat.

The matter will next be reviewed by the cabinet and President Sauli Niinistö. Once the heads of state and government have considered the case, the ministry will provide information about possible further actions.

Viinanen: No reason I can't continue in post

Contacted by phone, Viinanen told Yle that in his view the ministry report did not provide any basis to conclude that he could not continue as ambassador and would have to speedily re-assigned elsewhere in the ministry.

"This statement only says that my prospects for continuing in the post have deteriorated so much that I would have to be speedily recalled from Stockholm. It does not provide any specifics at all about why my prospects for continuing have deteriorated, and in no regard does it say that I have engaged in any kind of wrongdoing that would compromise my ability to perform," Viinanen said.

Viinanen is currently out of office on his annual vacation.

Last week the Foreign Ministry indicated that it had completed at internal probe into the goings-on at its Stockholm embassy. Officials launched the investigation when embassy staff reached out to its HR department.

In July, tabloid daily Iltalehti first ran reports of the suspicions of sexual harassment at the mission.

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