The Interior Ministry has suspended the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Robin Lardot, with immediate effect.
In mid-August Lardot was charged with official misconduct for failing to adequately monitor rogue Helsinki officers over their mismanagement of police informants.
The ministry said on Monday that Lardot would be unable to discharge his duties while facing such serious charges.
Three other police top brass have been charged in the case, along with convicted ex-Helsinki drug squad chief, Jari Aarnio.
The ministry says that Lardot has been suspended in order to maintain public confidence in the police during his legal proceedings. The ministry says that Lardot’s position as the head of the NBI is so significant that the charges against him undermine his ability to carry out his duties during the trial.
Deputy director Tero Kurenmaa will take over at the helm of the NBI for now.
Irregularities in drug squad’s use of informants
The charges against Lardot stem from the 2010-13 period when he was head of the National Police Board and also led the crime prevention unit. He is accused of failing to intervene in irregularities in the drug squad’s use of informants although he knew that its officers did not keep an informant registry as required by law.
The state prosecutor is seeking stiff fines or a suspended sentence of up to four months for Lardot.
After the charges against Lardot were announced last month, he was hospitalised for a sudden illness, but returned to work in early September. During his suspension Lardot will receive half of his regular salary.
Biggest police crime case in history
The Interior Ministry has already suspended Helsinki police chief Lasse Aapio, who was also charged in connection with the same case. Aapio has been off-duty since mid-May.
Besides Lardot and Aapio, former high-ranking police directors Mikko Paatero and Jukka Riikonen have also been implicated in the case.
The eight people charged in the case also include Aarnio, who is suspected of deleting the names of informants from the registry in late 2008, among an array of other offences.
The main trial in the largest police crime case in Finnish history begins in early October at Helsinki District Court.