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Home NATIONALFinnish envoy accused of sexual harassments
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Thu, 14 Jul, 2016 01:43:45 AM
FM terms the accusations serious
FTimes- STT Report, July 14

The Finnish ambassador to Sweden, Jarmo Viinanen has been accused of sexual harassment, reported the Finnish language tabloid Iltalehti on Wednesday.

The report said Viinanen was accused of harassing both guests and employees of the embassy.

At least one female worker of the embassy resigned from her post at the beginning of this year, said the report.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Timo Soini on Wednesday termed the suspicions levied at the ambassador serious.

Soini confirmed that the foreign ministry has carried out an investigation at the Finnish embassy in Sweden.

“This is a serious matter, and we have completed an internal foreign ministry audit, and we have been on the ground speaking with people. We want to hear, of course, Ambassador Viinanen’s position on this issue,” Soini said at a press conference in Pori.

The minister emphasised that matters such as these are handled with zero tolerance.

At the same time, he pointed out that the case must be first investigated in full.

“When something like this becomes public, it is not something that can be overlooked in the least. It will be taken seriously and thoroughly picked apart. After that, we’ll see what’s reasonable and what is not,” Soini added.

Soini himself has not yet discussed the matter with Viinanen. Rather the investigation of the matter will pass through official channels.

“Of course, it’s obvious that the matter sooner or later will be on mine and others’ desks,” Soini said.

According to Soini, the matter will be clarified as quickly as possible. The foreign minister, however, could not give an exact date.

“The sooner this is cleared up the better. It’s not in anyone’s interests, neither Finland’s nor Viinanen’s, that this drags on and on,” Soini said, adding that, “I think it’s reasonable that such matters are dealt with quickly, thoroughly, but also with respect to legal rights.”

Soini did not want to predict what the consequences for Viinanen would be, should the allegations turn out to be true.

Foreign Ministry Administrative Services Director General Ari Rouhe said generally, if an official acts improperly, the results can range from a reprimand or written warning to changes in work placement, or even termination.

Viinanen has had a long career in key diplomatic positions. He was appointed the ambassador to Sweden in 2014. Prior to that, he worked in New York as the permanent representative to UN, sometimes referred to as the UN ambassador.

From 2000 to 2009, he was a foreign policy adviser for the President’s Office and also worked at the Prime Minister’s Office.

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