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Defence Ministry says ex-general broke rules in lobbying for Lockheed Martin

Former Chief of Defence Jarmo Lindberg worked for a US firm seeking a contract to provide Finland with fighter jets.

Kuvassa on Jarmo Lindberg.
Retired general Jarmo Lindberg has been barred from consulting on fighter jet procurement. Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP

The Defence Ministry says an ex-general broke its conflict of interest rules in taking on a lobbyist role at US aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, but is not asking him to pay fines due under his contract.

The ministry says in a report published on Thursday that it agreed a cooling-off period during which former Chief of Defence Jarmo Lindberg would not take on any consultancy work. It says Lindberg broke that to join the company as it lobbies for a 10 billion euro contract to provide Finland with fighter jets.

Lindberg retired in July 2019 and should, according to the agreement, have refrained from any activity until January 2020.

Lindberg registered his own company during January, but did not register that with the ministry as he should have under the terms of his contract.

The ministry says the breach is a serious matter, and Lindberg’s failure to register his interests worthy of a reprimand even though it notes he founded the company towards the end of the exclusion period.

The ministry said the oversight was serious, but recognises that Lindberg did not actually start his commercial activities during his exclusion period.

Therefore the ministry is not asking Lindberg to pay the fines mandated in his agreement.

The story came to light last week when Finnish news agency STT reported that Lindberg was representing Lockheed Martin as it lobbied for the contract to supply new fighter jets.

Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen announced the next day that any contact with consultants over the deal would end.

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