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Berner cleared in Finavia probe

The Deputy Chancellor of Justice has cleared Transport Minister Anne Berner of law-breaking after her ministry intervened in airport operator Finavia's handling of huge losses in risky investments. The chancellor's report does, however, suggest the state acted against its own guidelines.

Anne Berner
Anne Berner Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Transport and Communications Minister Anne Berner has been cleared of breaking the law after she intervened in state-owned airport operator Finavia's handling of a fraud case.

The situation arose after Finavia lost millions of euros in risky derivative investments. The company's board had to decide whether or not to prosecute former managers and the accountants who signed off on the investments.

The ministry started a mediation process between Finavia and an accountancy firm without informing the company's board. When it did inform the directors, it withheld expert opinion critical of the mediated resolution.

In its report, the office of the Chancellor of Justice says that the law was not broken, but the state did break its own guidelines on state ownership steering.  The state owns 100 percent of Finavia, which operates airports in Finland.

 Complaints were made to the Chancellor of Justice by members of the public who suspected Berner had pressured Finavia managers to abandon attempts to press charges over the massive losses sustained as a result of the investments.

In total some 34 million euros of public money was lost between 2009 and 2011. In February parliament's audit committee had reprimanded the ministry for breaking its own guidelines.

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