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Tuesday’s papers: Finnish fascination with other people's earnings grows

One topic dominates the newspapers on Tuesday morning: Who Finland's biggest earners? This follows Finland's tax authorities publication of annual tax data on Monday.

Henkilö lukemassa sanomalehtiä.
Tuesday's press focus: Who were Finland's biggest earners in 2013? Image: Yle

Is your neighbour making more than you? How much did well-known politicians, entrepreneurs and celebrities earn in 2013?

As per Finnish tradition, the tax authorities released Finns' income earnings on Monday. Predictably, the press followed up with a range of feature supplements and stories on who earned how much in 2013.

Main Finnish daily broadsheet Helsingin Sanomat leads with a feature on Supercell’s 5 founders who are in the top 5 spots, as they sold the majority of shares in their company to Japanese firm Softbank in 2013 for 1.1 billion euros.  But this time, Helsingin Sanomat writes, the tale has a happier tone: rather than the usual angle of jealousy by other Finns that often accompanies stories about the extremely wealthy, this is a success story that everyone can feel proud of. Supercell co-founder Ilkka Paananen, who earned 170 million euros from the sale, has repeatedly gone on the record as saying that he was happy to pay 54 million euros in taxes because: “We’ve received so much help from (Finnish) society, it’s our turn to pay it back.”

Another big earner, but not in the same million-euro sum league as the Supercell boys is Ceylan Guzel, who sold his successful kebab meat business in Finland for 2.5 million euros in 2013. Guzel, who has since retired to Iskenderun, Turkey, spent 25 years in Finland building up his business with a series of kebab restaurants - the first of which he founded in the city of Rauma in 1992 during the recession - before turning to founding a business that provided kebab meat for restaurants.

Tabloid Iltalehti devotes its cover to a smiling Guzel, the kebab millionaire, as part of a 24-page insert on who-earned-what last year. Former ski jump champion turned entertainer Matti Nykänen reportedly earned more than Finnish pop star Cheek. Supercell’s story is also featured, along with details of how they turned their company around with hard work and perseverance. During their second year of operation in 2011, the company recorded losses of 1.8 million euros before their fortunes turned around with hugely successful games Hay Day and Clash of the Clans, which made Apple’s Top Crossing list in 2012.  The takeaway from the story, according to Iltalehti? Supercell failed repeatedly, but they didn't give up.

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat also devotes its cover to a tax special with an image of ex-ski champion turned entertainer Matti Nykänen, who earned 242, 221 euros last year and Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, who earned 175,855 euros in his then-position as Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade. The cutline: “Nykänen earned more than the Prime Minister.”

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