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Monday's papers: Panama Papers, local Finns Party vice chair sacked, world champ dreams knocked out?

The newspapers on Monday were very interested in the Panama Papers data leak which among many other things revealed that Nordea Bank orchestrated nearly 400 offshore tax havens for its customers. True Finns local vice chair Terhi Kiemunki was sacked after making derogatory remarks about Muslim children. Finland's boxing world champion's hopes may have been knocked out.

Robert Helenius kanveesissa.
Finland's boxing world champion hopeful Robert Helenius' bloody defeat during Saturday evening's battle for the WBC silver title dominated sports headlines for the rest of the weekend – and the pictures weren't pretty. Image: Tomi Hänninen

The Finnish press was abuzz on Monday about the Panama Papers data leaks, which are reportedly significantly larger in scale than the massive Wikileaks breach about five years ago. The documents show, among other things, that Nordea Bank has facilitated nearly 400 offshore tax havens for its customers.

Yle's investigative reporting programmes MOT and Spotlight were some of the more than 100 members of the media who took part in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) far-reaching probe.

Many papers, including Iltalehti wrote that Nordea's unit in Luxembourg set up nearly 400 offshore tax shelters in Panama and the British Virgin Islands between the years of 2004 to 2014.

Nordea issued a statement about the leak early Monday morning.

"Nordic media are presently investigating tax evasion through companies set up in Panama and some media have published some articles today, where Nordea International Private Banking in Luxembourg was portrayed as a provider of tax haven structures for its customers," the Nordea statement reads.

"Nordea follows all rules and regulations related to these issues. We do not accept to be used as a platform for tax evasion. Our tax advice policy and ethical standards are clear; we shall not encourage or facilitate tax schemes of our customers that are regarded as tax evasion. We help our customers to pay the tax they should."

The bank said that its private banking branch in Luxembourg began a policy "beyond the rules and regulations and beyond standards in our industry," at the end of 2009 and has further tightened standards since.

Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet spoke with tax haven researcher Matti Ylönen who said Nordea's tax haven scheme was not a surprise to him and that he believes the Nordic banking company uses tax shelters to an even greater extent than the leaked date suggests.

The Panama Papers contain 11.5 million leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the world's largest tax services firms with locations in 40 countries.

Muslim-mocking Finns Party politician loses vice chair post

Tampere region Finns Party politician Terhi Kiemunki was fired from her post as first vice chair for a lack of confidence by a vote of 14 to 11, Helsingin Sanomat and others report.

Kiemunki became the focus of furore after posting Facebook and blog messages on Palm Sunday in which she mocked Muslim children engaged in a Finnish Easter tradition.

While Kiemunki is losing her position as first vice chair she will be permitted to remain on the board. Keimunki also serves as special advisor to Finns Party MP Lea Mäenpää.

Bearded boxer badly beaten

Finland's boxing world champion hopeful Robert Helenius' bloody defeat during Saturday evening's battle for the WBC silver title dominated sports headlines for the rest of the weekend – and the pictures weren't pretty.

According to Ilta-Sanomat Helenius was knocked out during the final seconds of the sixth round by a right hook by France's Johann Duhaupas - marking the boxer's first loss at the pro level.

After 22 straight career wins Saturday marked Helenius' first defeat by knockout and now brings into question his chances of being able to continue towards a world championship title.

But HBL suggested that Helenius appeared relieved after the defeat, saying his undefeated status may have well been a heavy burden for the boxer to carry.

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