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Prosecutor General admits to official misconduct, claims actions were unintentional

Prosecutor General Matti Nissinen is facing a fine for charges of official misconduct for contracting services from a firm owned by his brother. Nissinen admitted to the charges, but said that his actions were not premeditated.

Valtakunnansyyttäjä Matti Nissinen
Prosecutor General Matti Nissinen. Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle

The High Court has begun preparatory hearings in the case against Prosecutor General Matti Nissinen, who is charged with official misconduct.

Leading the case against Nissinen is Deputy Chancellor of Justice Kimmo Hakonen, who is calling for a 60-day fine as a penalty for the offence. However Hakonen is not calling for Nissinen’s dismissal.

Hakonen argued Tuesday that Nissinen deliberately violated the duties of office by unlawfully participating in the procurement of services for the public prosecutor’s office.

Nissinen admitted to being guilty of a negligent breach of his official duties between autumn 2012 and spring 2015. However he claimed that his actions were not deliberate.

The charges centre on the procurement of training service for the Eastern Finland prosecutor’s office and the Office of the Prosecutor General from a firm owned by his brother.

Conflict of interest buying training services

The Deputy Chancellor of Justice charged that Nissinen had been aware of his brother’s position in the company, and must have understood that he would be deciding on matters from which the company would benefit.

Hakonen stressed that Nissinen had spearheaded the procurement projects. The charge sheet indicates that as the head of the Eastern Finland prosecutor’s office, Nissinen decided on the projects and approved related invoices.

As Prosecutor General, Nissinen is also believed to have fully decided on procurement matters, participated in handling them, and also made decisions alone.

According to deputy chancellor Hakonen the suspected offences took place between June 2007 and February 2017.

Hakonen has called for Nissinen to be sentenced for negligent breach of official duty. In such a case, the breach is not considered deliberate, but is seen as the result of negligence.

The prosecution services named in the case purchased training services valued at more than 74,000 euros from a management consulting firm known as Deep Lead. Nissinen's brother, Col. Vesa Nissinen, is chairman and majority owner of the firm as well as director of the Finnish Defence Research Agency (FDRA).

According to the charges laid, Nissinen participated in decisions relating to contracts worth over 32,000 euros. Nissinen previously denied the charges, but later admitted to acting inappropriately.

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