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Hacked psychotherapy centre Vastaamo files for bankruptcy

Vastaamo's business will be sold to Verve, where Vastaamo's clients can continue their therapy.

Psykoterapiakeskus Vastaamon logo.
Vastaamo clients are encouraged to consult with their therapists or psychiatrists about continuing therapy through Verve. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

The psychotherapy company Vastaamo has filed for bankruptcy.

The firm was placed under liquidation in late January. Lassi Nyyssönen from Fenno Attorneys at Law was appointed as liquidator, but after assessing the situation decided that it was not feasible to carry out liquidation proceedings.

"It very quickly became clear that the company's clear, undisputed debts exceed the amount of its assets. That does not of course include possible damages that it may have to pay due to the data breach," Nyyssönen told Yle.

On Thursday, he filed the company's bankruptcy application at Helsinki District Court.

Debts triple assets, even without damages

According to the filing, the company has assets of some 2.2 million euros but debts of nearly six million euros.

Nyyssönen has also entered into a preliminary agreement to sell the company's business to Verve, a provider of occupational welfare services. The company serves some 6,000 customers in many Finnish cities.

The transaction must still be approved by the bankruptcy estate's trustee and the firm's creditors.

According to Nyyssönen, many parties were interested in taking over Vastaamo's operations.

"Verve was in a class of its own class in terms of the scope and terms of its offer, though. And most important of all, it is able to provide employment for all [the current staff]," he said.

Nyyssönen says that most of Vastaamo's employees are satisfied with the solution.

"They've been in a difficult and very stressful situation for a very long time. Negative publicity around their employer has not contributed to job satisfaction at all," he said.

Starting with a clean slate

The goal is for the bankruptcy decision to be finalised by the court on Monday. If all goes according to plan, the transfer of the business and employees would take place on 1 March.

Vastaamo clinic encourages its clients to discuss continuing their therapy with their own therapist or psychiatrist at Verve. It says the aim is for treatment to continue with as little interruption as possible.

The acquisition does not include Vastaamo's IT systems or customer data.

Patient information will not be handed over in the deal. Instead, each client relationship will start with a clean slate> at Verve, says Vastaamo.

Last October, Vastaamo announced that sensitive information about its clients was leaked after a hack of its database, and that hackers were attempting to extort money in exchange for its return.

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