The Deputy Chancellor of Justice has ruled that neither Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner (Centre) nor the Ministry of Transport and Communications acted unlawfully in intervening in the operations of the state-owned airport operator Finavia in 2015.
Berner did, on the other hand, fail to comply with the principles of ownership steering, according to the ruling issued on Wednesday.
Finavia signed a series of derivatives contracts in 2009–2011 in what has since been shown to have been an unjustified decision from an operational viewpoint. The contracts ultimately resulted in the state-owned airport operator recording losses of 34 million euros and considering bringing charges against its former board of directors and audit firm, Deloitte.
The Deputy Chancellor of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Berner and the Ministry of Transport and Communications interfered in the operations of the state-owned company by approaching the audit firm in order to determine its willingness to settle the dispute through mediation. The decision to approach the audit firm was made in a meeting on 25 November, 2015.
Finavia’s board of directors voted 4–1 in favour of launching the mediation process, prompting its chairperson, Riitta Tiuraniemi, to resign and accuse Berner of applying political pressure.
“The state owner decided to approach the audit firm to determine its willingness for mediation without notifying the company in advance. It is justifiable to conclude that that the approach initiated the mediation process, even though the final decision on whether or not to sign the mediation agreement was made by the company’s board of directors,” the ruling reads.
“Such activities are operational in nature.”
The government’s principles on ownership steering prescribe that the state shall not intervene in the operational matters of state-owned companies.
The Deputy Chancellor of Justice concluded nevertheless that neither the complaints nor the subsequent inquiry produced any evidence that would “compromise confidence in the impartiality of Berner or raise suspicions of a possible conflict of interest”.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi