Former Finnish MPs sentenced after campaign financing scandal

2013-01-30 14:48:47 GMT2013-01-30 22:48:47(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HELSINKI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Helsinki District Court on Wednesday sentenced two former members of the Finnish Parliament to suspended imprisonment for a campaign financing scandal.

Antti Kaikkonen was sentenced 5 months of suspended imprisonment for dereliction of duty when chairing the Finnish Youth Foundation, the Finnish broadcasting company YLE reported.

Jukka Vihriala, former chairman of the Finnish Slot Machine Association RAY, was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence for receiving bribes.

The two defendants, both from the influential Centre Party, were prosecuted early last year, months after the police began to investigate the scandal.

According to Helsinki News, during Kaikkonen's 12-year tenure as chairman, the Finnish Youth Foundation bought campaign boards and seminar tickets for Centre Party candidates in their election campaigns, including Kaikkonen's.

The foundation also bribed Vihrialain in order to obtain more state support. Vihrialawas is alleged to have accepted a total of bribes of 42,000 euros (57,000 U.S. dollars), among which 35,000 euros were from the Youth Foundation in the period from 2001 to 2007.

Jorma Heikkinen, a former attorney for the Youth Foundation, received a one-year suspended prison sentence for aggravated bribery. Two other former leaders of the foundation were slapped with a fine.

The Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization providing rental apartments to workers and part-time employees under 30 years of age. For a long time, the foundation was led by Centre Party politicians, including former prime minister Matti Vanhanen.

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