MP accused of accepting birthday bash bribes

A Finnish MP could face bribery charges following allegations about huge sums of cash which were donated for his lavish 60th birthday party. The Helsinki Criminal Police have announced that they suspect National Coalition Party MP and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Ikka Kanerva of taking backhanders to fund his recent party. Deputy Prosecutor General Jorma Kalske will now decide whether formal charges will be filed.

Kanerva received a donation of EUR 17,000 (USD 21,762) for his 60th birthday celebrations from the Nova Real Estate Development company, which later went bankrupt. Kanerva has since returned the money and denies any misconduct.

Head of the investigation, Markku Nisula, has not revealed any details of the probe or the names of those suspected of paying the alleged bribe. According to previous news reports, however, the police are investigating possible links between the Nova Group – the parent of Nova Real Estate Development – and the regional zoning plans in Southwest Finland. Kanerva is the chairman of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland.

According to Finnish news agency STT, former Nova directors Tapani Yli-Saunamaki and Arto Merisalo are suspected of giving the bribes. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

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