Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, has made some clarifications to the information published by the Finnish press that links her spouse´s employer with several offers made to small companies to request aid on their behalf from the state financial company Business Finland. Offers in which a member of Markkinointi Akatemia whose identity remains in the shadows appealed to the fact that in the company works Marin's spouse and he was leading the grant application project, as if that guaranteed the funds.
On Thursday night, Marin told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that those offers were made by "an individual employee". And she presented her partner Markus Räikkönen and herself (they are not married, but they live together and have a child in common) as victims of that "inappropriate act of an individual employee."
"The case is very sad, both for me and my spouse. It has been an inappropriate act of an individual employee, and I understand that the matter is being thoroughly investigated and the company has not accepted such an act," Prime Minister Marin said.
Marin also insisted on defending the company where her husband works as Head of Communications: "The company has not used me or my spouse in this matter, but it has been the behaviour of an individual employee that has been inappropriate and is being investigated," she explained.
Company also claims to be a victim
Likewise, Mikko Pulkkila, President and CEO of Markkinointi Akatemia also declared to the STT agency that everything is due to the "activities of an individual employee" and this behaviour "has not beeen approved by the company."
According to Pulkkila's story, he learned about the case from the press and he said that neither the company nor the Prime Minister nor her spouse knew about it beforehand.
"As a company, we have not given any instructions to do so. The company is equally a victim here," Pulkkila said.
Markkinointi Akatemia is a consulting company located in Tampere. They had a turnover of 6.8 million euros in the last financial year, according to the Trade Register. And still, they got 45,000 from the financial aid with which Business Finland was supposed to help companies in trouble due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Also, the firm has been offering their services to various companies to get aid from Business Finland. On Tuesday, Marin was the first to write about it in her Twitter account.
Who is this mysterious employee?
Who is this mysterious employee whose inappropriate behavior has damaged the reputation of the Prime Minister and her husband?
For the moment, his or her identity remains in the shadows. And despite the seriousness of the facts, no one seems willing to reveal his or her name.
The newspaper Iltalehti quotes the CEO of a company from the Tampere region who had got those offers:
"I was called from the Markkinointi Akatemia a couple of weeks ago. I was asked if I had already applied for free money from Business Finland. I was a little confused about what it was all about," the CEO told to Iltalehti.
Another Finnish magazine, Talouselämä, reported they had access to an email in which "an employee" of Markkinointi Akatemia offers their services and explains that the company's grant application project "is being led by Markus Räikkonen." The message also "emphasizes that Räikkönen is the Prime Minister's spouse," says Talouselämä.
The message also states in the same context that the company has applied for support for many dozens of customers and that no application has been rejected. According to the message, subsidies have been obtained for customers for many millions of euros.
"A Tampere-based company where my husband works has received a grant from Business Finland of about 45,000 euros. He has no ownership of the company but is an employee of the company. I have come to know this today and I want to tell you about it openly," Prime Minister Marin said in Twitter on Tuesday.
Marin tested negative
On Thursday, coinciding with those revelations, Marin announced she would be working remotely because one employee of her residence has coronavirus.
On Friday, the Prime Minister's office announced that Sanna Marin was tested for coronavirus and the result was negative.
"Prime Minister Marin will return to work normally today," said the Government's Communications Department in a press release.