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Tuesday's papers: Criminal candidates, Operation Ironside, pay transparency

One local paper looked at the pasts of some candidates for this week's municipal elections – the results may surprise you.

Finnish police joined a global sting operation that led to hundreds of arrests, reports Tuesday's Ilta-Sanomat. Image: Rebecka Rahikainen / Yle

Ahead of this weekend's local elections, Tampere-based Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) has been looking at the criminal records of candidates in Pirkanmaa.

According to Aamulehti, 12 percent of candidates in the region were charged with a crime in a district court between 2004 and 2021. The party with the most criminal charges on its candidate list was the Finns Party, followed by the National Coalition Party (NCP), the paper reports.

In all, 27 percent of Finns Party candidates and 12 percent of NCP candidates in Pirkanmaa have faced charges since 2004, Aamulehti writes.

Nine percent of Centre Party and SDP candidates, eight percent from the Left Alliance, seven percent of Christian Democrats and five percent of Green candidates in the region also have criminal charges on their records.

It should be noted that not all criminal charges lead to a guilty verdict or a conviction.

Responding to Aamulehti's findings, Sastamala Finns Party chair Maire Villo said "We have many candidates, and the Finns include people from all walks of life. Other parties may have more elites, but we have more people from the grass roots. Something is wrong in society when people get involved in crime."

Jussi Haavisto, chair of the NCP in Kangasala told Aamulehti the revelations would simply make it harder to find candidates in future.

"If it is in the interests of journalism and the public interest to report them, then so be it, but I disagree. Who will dare to stand if a drink-driving conviction after a Christmas party in 2006 is now made public?" he said.

Finnish police join global crime sting

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on a huge police operation that took place in 18 countries including Finland on Monday.

While details of the Finnish operation have yet to be revealed, IS writes, Australian investigators have held a press conference on their part in the sting, dubbed Operation Ironside, in which hundreds of people were arrested.

The plan, jointly conceived by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the FBI and Europol saw investigators infiltrate a messaging app called An0m. The app was favoured by gangs who believed it was a secure way to communicate.

Police officers who gained access to the app were able to read messages in real time.

"All they talk about is drugs, violence, hits on each other, innocent people who are going to be murdered, a whole range of things," said AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw.

Police in Sweden were also involved, reports Ilta-Sanomat, with Swedish Interior Minister Mikael Damberg calling it "a serious blow to Swedish organised crime."

According to Ilta-Sanomat, further details on the Finnish raids will be announced in a Europol briefing later on Tuesday.

Entrepreneurs slam pay proposals

Small and medium business organisation the Federation of Finnish Enterprises (FFE) has criticised government plans to improve the transparency of company pay, reports business daily Kauppalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) has been working on a bill that would allow workers to see how much their colleagues are paid in cases where they suspect they have been discriminated against. The government says it would help tackle issues like the gender pay gap.

But according to Kauppalehti, FFE labour market director Janne Makkula slapped down the idea that wage gaps were related to factors like gender.

"Just because there are unexplained pay differences does not mean that anyone is being discriminated against. Salaries are based on skills, experience, where you come from in the workplace, your background and how you have managed to negotiate your salary," he told the paper.

"It is fundamentally about something other than gender. We need to prevent regulation that would lead to unfair requests," Makkula added.

Katarina Murto, from managerial union Akava, defended the proposals, Kauppalehti writes.

"We are not aiming for everyone's salaries to be open to everyone. It would be important to open up pay systems, because staff do not always know what components make up their salaries.

"I don't think this would be an anti-privacy law, that people would go out en masse and ask each other for each other's salaries. The legislation limits the criteria for obtaining salary information," Murto said.