Business & Finance - Monday 25.11.2002
Head of Sonera corporate communications arrested
Police suspect widespread wrongdoing within telecoms company
The police investigations into suspected illegal surveillance of telephone
records at Sonera have now led to the telecommunications company's executive
On Friday, the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Jari
, the executive vice president in charge of corporate
communications, and vice president Henri Harmia, who has had a
central role in preparing the merger of Sonera and Telia.
Similar to the previous three arrests, the two men are suspected of
aggravated violation of privacy in communications during an internal Sonera
investigation that took place in autumn 2000 and spring 2001. Both Jaakkola,
41, and Harmia, 39, have been relieved of their duties for the time being.
- Helsingin Sanomat reported in October that
Sonera has analysed telephone records in order to determine who leaked
information to reporters. However, the National Bureau of Investigation now
suspects even more widespread wrongdoing may have taken place.
The police aim to uncover who issued the order to analyse telephone records.
Jaakkola held his current position already in autumn 2000, and Harmia was a
confidant of former Sonera President and CEO Kaj-Erik Relander.
Relander has so far declined to comment on the investigations.
During the course of the past weeks, Jaakkola has repeatedly denied in
public that Sonera had any knowledge of the offences reported by HS.
- Current Sonera President and CEO Harri Koponen was
downcast at the company's press conference on Friday. He issued an assurance that the
company will not cover up for anyone, but will assist the police in
unearthing the truth.
Koponen did not work for Sonera at the time of the alleged wrongdoing.
Sonera Chairman Tapio Hintikka observed that the newest turns in the
investigation have no effect on Koponen's position at the company. According
to Hintikka, Koponen retains his full confidence. Also, Hintikka emphasised
that the merger process with Telia will proceed as planned despite the
Minister of Transport and Communications Kimmo Sasi, who was
surprised by the arrests of the Sonera executives, commented on Friday that the
state has advised Sonera management to be as open as possible and to find
out the truth as soon as possible.
Jaakkola's counterpart at Telia, Michael Kongstad, noted on
Friday that the arrests are unfortunate, but that they will not delay the
- Previously in HS International Edition:
- Merger between Sonera and Telia now certain (19.11.2002)
- Arrested Sonera employees held seats on important state committees (18.11.2002)
- Sonera security personnel to remain in police custody (15.11.2002)
- Sonera press release
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