Teuvo Hakkarainen (PS), a second-term Member of the Parliament from Central Finland, has received 493.40 euros a month in tax-free reimbursement for the rent of a sauna he has used as a second home in Helsinki, reports Iltalehti.
“It’s the best home I’ve had in Helsinki,” the lawmaker stated to Iltalehti on Monday.
Hakkarainen said to the tabloid daily he is indeed living in the unit but added that he has not given any thought to how it should be categorised because it has “sleeping facilities”. “It’s a perfectly fine place to stay. It has a sauna and everything,” he retorted.
Members of the Finnish Parliament from outside the electoral districts of Helsinki and Uusimaa are entitled to up to 1,809.15 euros a month in tax-free reimbursement for expenses incurred while performing their official duties if they rent or own a second home in Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen or Vantaa. Members of Parliament from Helsinki or Uusimaa, in turn, are entitled to 986.81 euros in tax-free reimbursement for expenses incurred while performing their official duties.
The case of Hakkarainen is unusual not only because of the type of the rental unit but also because his landlord is superintendent Dennis Pasterstein (NCP), a deputy councillor for the City of Helsinki.
Pasterstein confirmed yesterday that the 62-square-metre basement unit is effectively a sauna. Hakkarainen is renting the sauna together with his party comrade Ville Vähämäki, who has a flat in the same housing company with his spouse.
“It has been rented to them as a sauna. If they sleep there a night or two a week… I don’t know what they do there,” Pasterstein told Iltalehti.
Pertti Rauhio, the administrative director at the Parliament, said to Helsingin Sanomat he will look into the matter after returning from his summer holiday next week. He declined to comment on whether or not the unit in question can be regarded as a second home.
“I’m not prepared to make that judgement with the information I have. Usually a prerequisite for claiming the raised reimbursement is that the unit is used as a residence,” he said to the newspaper.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi