Talk of tax havens still looms large in Friday’s papers, with Helsingin Sanomat leading on Nordea Bank’s attempt to stem the damage to its reputation after leaked documents appeared to show the bank's involvement in tax evasion practices.
As politicians in Finland and Sweden mounted growing attacks on the bank - the largest in the Nordics - the paper says the top management launched one of its most important crisis management operations of all time on Thursday, apologising publicly for previous mistakes.
The Panama Papers data leak indicated that Nordea had worked with the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca to help clients set up as many as 400 offshore companies to conceal their wealth.
The head of Sweden’s left party called for Nordea chairman Björn Wahlroos to explain the bank’s activities in front of a committee of MPs. HS reports that the tycoon says he is ready to appear, but not at the demand of just one party leader. The paper points out that a 5.4 million euro fine that the Swedish financial regulator handed to Nordea last year for ignoring money-laundering regulations authorities is still fresh in the mind of authorities and the public in Sweden.
The paper reports that Nordea’s Finnish chief executive, Casper von Koskull, told reporters on Thursday that the bank tightened its practices in 2009, and is now reviewing its activities, tax rules and money-laundering regulations regarding private banking. Wahlroos, meanwhile, acknowledged the impact on Nordea’s reputation but insisted the bank had followed both the law and its own guidelines.
Finland's environmental timebomb
Turku’s Turun Sanomat reports on the long-standing problem of hundreds of shipwrecks in the Finnish waters of the Baltic sea, many of which are still filled with oil and could pose a severe environmental risk in the event of a leak.
Finland’s environmental agency Syke next month launches a two-year project to look more closely at a German warship which sank in the waters of Porkkala at the end of 1944, and which contains a particularly dangerous type of fuel that was common during WW2. If possible Syke will syphon the oil out of the ship.
TS reports that a local company, Alfons Håkans, has patented a device aboard a tugboat which it says can empty the oil out of sunken vessels. It has created a prototype which the company is now looking to put to use, and has asked to take part in the project.
But the paper says that Syke has decided not to use the technology. Oil removal is extremely risky, takes a lot of time and is above all very expensive, Turun Sanomat reports. Syke’s aim is to plug any possible leaks as they come across them, the paper says. Meanwhile the firm’s project leader calls on Baltic countries to act to tackle the environmental risk as soon as possible.
Curtain down on Tampere's performing dolphins
An environmental story of another sort on the pages of Iltalehti this morning, reporting that the dolphins in the controversial dolphinarium at a Tampere theme park will very soon depart Finland for good as the attraction has now been shut down.
In recent years the dolphin performances at Särkänniemi came under fire from animal rights campaigners around the world, and the attraction has been closed to the public since September last year. The paper reports that the enclosure's four remaining residents - Veera, Delfi, Leevi and Eevertti- will be en route to a new home, most likely somewhere else in Europe, either this month or the next.
The theme park’s owner tells Iltalehti that they have received offers of hundreds of thousands of euros to buy the dolphins, but that the firm turned them down. “From the very start of this process we’ve had nothing but the dolphins’ best interests at heart,” he says, explaining that this is why it’s taken so long to find them a new home. “I understand that one has to take a position on animal welfare, and that times change and develop,” he says, adding that there will be no final performance from the dolphins, and that the four are in good health.