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Wednesday's papers: A student housing con, hot hospitals and Paavo's latest hijinks

Today's papers talk about a suspected embezzlement of millions at the Youth Foundation, uncomfortable conditions at the Malmi Hospital and Paavo Väyrynen's email grab.

Paavo Väyrynen
Paavo Väyrynen Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

This Wednesday, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reports on a police investigation of Nuorisosäätiö (the Youth Foundation), a Centre Party-linked rental agency specializing in student housing blocks. Law enforcement suspects the former management of embezzling millions of euros of the firm's assets via shady investments in Estonia.

The paper says police believe ex-CEO Aki Haaro and ex-board chair Perttu Nousiainen both benefitted personally by engaging in undervalued deals and con jobs. Current Nuorisosäätiö CEO Kimmo Pihlman tells HS that an example is the sale of a Lahti housing block that the company paid 8 million euros for, when it was valued at only 4 million euros.

Haaro and Nousiainen both stepped down from their positions in the spring, on suspicion of engaging in bribery. The National Board of Patents and Registration (PRH) claims the men pilfered money by negotiating inflated deals with Nuorisosäätiö's construction firm business partner Salpausselän Rakentajat.

Police are also trying to ascertain whether any of the money that was embezzled somehow made its way to the Centre Party or its politicians. HS says its preliminary research into the case has found no evidence of this.

Nuorisosäätiö announced on Monday that it would be liquidating seven of its student housing blocks and some of its land assets to drum up cash. The firm currently owns dozens of rental properties in 15 Finnish municipalities.

Too hot to get better

The tabloid Iltalehti talks to Helsinki's Malmi Hospital, where chief physician Arto Tennila says both the patients and the staff are suffering in the plus-30 degree heat.

"The rehabilitation and release of patients is being delayed because the place where they are supposed to be healing and regaining their strength is inordinately hot. Things are very hard for the staff, too," he tells IL.

The number of patients at the Malmi Hospital has climbed in recent weeks, causing congestion that makes an already difficult situation worse. Tennila tells IL that many of the patients that could go home don't want to, because their homes are so hot. He says the heat wave has made many patients so weak that they are easily susceptible to infections or dehydration, so it is better they stay put.

"We've got every fan or cooling equivalent we can find in use, and we try to keep people out of the direct sunlight, but the air conditioning was already woefully inadequate," he says.

Finland's laws on occupational safety say that employers should limit the exposure of workers to heat that could be a danger to the health and safety, listing the first solution as proper air conditioning and ventilation. If temperatures surpass 28 degrees Celsius, the law says, workers should take more frequent breaks, preferably 10 minutes every hour.

Up to new tricks

And to finish, the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports on the latest news surrounding maverick politician Paavo Väyrynen. IS says the leadership of the party that he founded in 2016, the Citizen's Party, has accused the former Foreign Minister and long-serving MP of stealing membership data from his former party's registrar.

Väyrynen was unceremoniously expelled from his Citizen's Party in March 2018 after being accused of campaign funding improprieties. The new violation was discovered when Citizen's Party members started receiving emails from Väyrynen about the new party that he would be founding, the Seven Star Movement. They say they were surprised to receive the emails because they had not given Väyrynen their contact information.

The Citizen's Party heads now believe that Väyrynen mined his former party's data to help him secure support for his new political movement, and has filed a criminal complaint with the Helsinki police. One individual Citizen's Party member has also made contact with the police about the matter.

Väyrynen admitted to Helsingin Sanomat that he used the Citizen's Party email list to approach the members and ask if they wanted to join his new party. The paper examined Väyrynen's missive, and said that it didn't in fact ask a question, but instead told people to inform the sender if they didn't wish to be added to the new party's membership list.

"Those that have so wanted have moved to the new register. The Citizen's Party email register has been shut down. It doesn't exist anymore," Väyrynen told HS.

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