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Helsinki bishop fined for accounting offences

The bookkeeping offences occurred between 2014 and 2017 and concern the Helsinki cleric’s past as an entrepreneur.

Teemu Laajasalo
Teemu Laajasalo Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

The Helsinki District Court has imposed a 20-day fine on Lutheran Evangelical Church Helsinki Bishop Teemu Laajasalo for negligent accounting offences. Based on Laajasalo’s income, the fine amounts to 1,620 euros.

Laajasalo became bishop of Helsinki in November 2017. Prior to that he was the head of the Kallio parish in Helsinki.

According to the court’s ruling, Laajasalo’s previous business enterprise, an educational firm called TL Opetus, supplied tax authorities with incorrect information for several years. The errors were corrected in 2017.

Court finds aggravated negligence

The court found that Laajasalo’s actions constituted aggravated negligence, because he did not provide his accountant with a significant amount of accounting information for three financial periods and also neglected his duty to check and sign financial statements. The court deemed that the accounting offences occurred between 2014 and 2017.

Soon after the ruling, the Helsinki diocese issued Laajasalo’s comment on the outcome.

"It’s impossible to take back my mistakes and it is futile to explain away my omissions. I have previously admitted to the offences and apologised for my carelessness. I accept the court’s decision with humility. My actions as an entrepreneur as part of my past, whose successes and failures I am happy to leave behind," the bishop said in the statement.

The Helsinki diocese will deal with the court’s ruling separately, at Laajasalo’s request.

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