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Prosecutor files fundraising, fraud charges against climate action group

The defendants have denied committing any crimes.

File photo of an Elokapina climate change protest in Helsinki. Image: Jaakko Stenroos/All Over Press

Criminal charges have been filed against Elokapina — the Finnish branch of the global climate protest movement Extinction Rebellion — as well as against Elonvaalijat, the registered association which supports the movement.

The prosecutor in the case said that four people associated with the two organisations will face charges related to fundraising activities.

Police previously said they had reason to believe that the group violated fundraising laws on two separate occasions, the first between 26 April and 18 June last year and the second on 15 September.

The fundraising proceeds were deliberately collected to "fund activities that clearly endanger public order or security, or that are illegal", the prosecutor said, in contravention of Finnish law.

All four defendants facing the fundraising charge have denied any wrongdoing. Charges against a fifth suspect were dropped by the prosecutor.

In addition to the fundraising offences, the prosecutor has also filed fraud charges against two people related to a grant paid from the funds of the Finnish Cultural Foundation's support association.

Supporter faces incitement charge over Yle interview

In a separate announcement, the prosecutor also said that charges of public incitement to an offence have been filed against a supporter of the climate action movement who gave an interview to Yle in September.

In the interview, Annamaija Hakama promised to pay any fines to protesters that might arise from the demonstration.