Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Employees of Finnish Firm Patria Charged with Bribery, Espionage

HELSINKI — Six employees of Finnish defense group Patria were charged Dec. 18 with bribery and corporate espionage in connection with a Slovenian defense contract for armored vehicles, Finnish prosecutors said.

The six include the former chief executives of the Patria group and its affiliate, Patria Vehicles. Patria signed a contract in 2006 to deliver 135 vehicles to Slovenia, during Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s first term in office. The order was part of Ljubljana’s efforts to modernize its military after joining NATO in 2004.

“The defendants are suspected to have participated in promising or giving of bribes in the shape of commission payments through intermediaries in exchange for (the) actions of Slovenian public officials and military officers,” the Finnish prosecution service said in a statement. “These, among others the prime minister and the deputy chief of general staff for Slovenia, were considered to have leverage in the procurement procedure of the vehicles,” it said.

The alleged bribes were 10 percent of the value of the sale, “which exceeded 160 million euros ($212 million),” it said, noting, however, that only part of the bribes had been paid.

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