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Prosecutors: HOK-Elanto ex-boss took 800K for daughter's horse riding hobby

A former property director of the HOK-Elanto business cooperative appeared in court Monday to testify in a bribery case. The ex-boss is suspected of accepting nearly one million euros to support his daughter’s equestrian pursuits.

HOK-Elanto Kärjäoikeuden istunto
A previous session in the bribery trial of the former HOK-Elanto property director. Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

The bribery trial of former HOK-Elanto property director Jari Leivo continued Monday with testimony from the accused. Leivo is suspected of accepting some 800,000 euros from a construction company in exchange for potential projects.

Prosecutors say that the money was used for purposes such as paying stable and coaching fees and purchasing horses.

Altogether 13 people are accused of bribery, but five of them face charges of aggravated bribery.

The prosecutor is calling for corporate fines for four companies involved in the web of intrigue.

All of the accused have denied the charges brought against them.

Defence: Sponsorship condoned by previous CEO

Leivo is believed to have accepted the bribes from a construction company between 2005 and 2012 during his tenure as property director responsible for planning and constructing business premises.

The ex-director has denied all of the charges. In his defence, he said that the funds he received were meant for normal sponsorship of his daughter’s competitive riding and that the money was not used for any other purpose.

The defence also claimed that there was no favouritism involved and that Leivo’s employer HOK-Elanto knew about the sponsorship, a claim that the current CEO denied last week.

The firm also participated in sponsoring the riding activity, a practice that began during the tenure of the previous chief executive. Leivo’s defence said that the previous CEO knew that the firm’s contractor had been sponsoring Leivo.

They further argued that the employer’s tacit acceptance of the practice also caused Leivo to assume that it was acceptable.

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