Finland Times

Thursday, 29 October, 2020
Home NATIONALPresident officially recalls ambassador Viinanen
Fri, 26 Aug, 2016 12:06:16 AM
Sexual harassment charges against envoy
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Aug 26

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Thursday decided to recall Jarmo Viinanen, Finland's ambassador in Stockholm, Sweden.

The action will take effect on Sept. 19. The ambassador became a controversial figure after Finnish media allegations about sexual harassment.

The ambassador denied any improper behavior and said his rights were not respected in an investigation by the Foreign Ministry.

Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said the possibility of Viinanen to "handle his duties had been impaired."

A month-long media focus has brought to light the internal life of Finnish diplomatic missions. Peter Stenlund, the highest civil servant at the Foreign Ministry, admitted to media that inappropriate behavior is known to have taken place in Finnish embassies earlier, but staffers have not been brave enough to report it to Helsinki.

Stenlund specified the accusations regarding Viinanen to have dealt with the "inviolability of a human being" but refused to say further.

Media reported that Viinanen had taken action against the practice of passing tax free liquor to non-diplomats and thus antagonized his staffers. Media suspected that his strict adherence to the alcohol rules had contributed to opposition against him.     Alcohol tax in Sweden is high, but accredited diplomats can buy it tax free while locally-recruited employees cannot.

Although Viinanen is a senior career diplomat, he was not known to the general public in Finland. The media frenzy has now made him a household name in Finland as he gave interviews and appeared in the media.

Aged 57, Viinanen will be given a new job at the Foreign Ministry. He has not been dismissed. 

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