30.05.2022 Author:

According to the Criminal Code of Finland Chapter 29 section 5:

A person who

(1) provides an authority deciding on subsidy false information that is conducive to essentially affecting the granting of a subsidy or the amount or conditions thereof, or conceals essentially relevant information, or

(2) neglects to provide information on a change in circumstances that is conducive to essentially affecting the granting of a subsidy or the amount or conditions thereof, and a duty for the provision of such information has been expressly provided in connection with the decision to grant the subsidy or otherwise,

and in this way obtains or attempts to obtain personal financial benefit or financial benefit for another shall be sentenced for subsidy fraud to a fine or to imprisonment for at most two years.

The main purpose of criminalizing subsidy fraud is to prevent the misuse of social support systems and to direct public funds distributed free of charge to the purpose for which the aid was intended.

The misuse of the subsidy is suitable for situations where the aid funds have been applied for and received for a proper purpose, but the recipient of the grant has decided to use them for something else. In order to enable the aid to be misused, the aid decision should contain conditions or provisions of the purpose for which the grant is to be used. If the grant were used contrary to this purpose, it would be a misuse of the aid. Misuse should be essential, i.e. in practice the usage of the money should be clearly distinguished from that for which it was granted.

The realization of subsidy fraud requires that the perpetrator has acted intentionally. The intent required of the author is that the author must be aware of the inaccuracy of the information and the essentiality of the incorrect information or, in the case of negligence of the obligation to report and the essentiality of the failure to do so.

The fulfillment of the intent required for the punishment of subsidy fraud is also linked in particular to the purpose of the aid fraud. The appropriateness of aid fraud presupposes that the perpetrator, by acting in the manner mentioned in the provision, acquires or attempts to obtain an economic advantage for himself or for another. In order for the intention to be fulfilled, the perpetrator must at least have considered the act of obtaining the benefit to be a certain or at least quite probable consequence.

The assessment of the right to compensation in this case is affected by the fact that the authority is required to recover the aid. What matters is whether the authority can simultaneously recover unduly paid grants from the Community and claim damages from the person responsible for the intentional crime. Preliminarily, such a situation, in which one is entitled to compensation in respect of one and on the other hand the right to recovery of aid in relation to another, can be assimilated to a situation in which two debtors are jointly and severally liable for a debt.

The joint and several liability of an obligation means the coexistence of liability, i.e. the creditor may, at his option, recover the full amount of the debt from either. The staggering of liability or the primacy of the liability of one debtor over another requires a clear specific legal basis. In some cases, section 21 of the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers imposes an explicit obligation on the State Aid Authority to recover unduly paid aid. The obligation to recover appears to constitute a specific legal basis for the staggering of liability and the priority of recovery.

12.02.2021 Author:

In a civil case the parties involved have a duty to remain in the truth. The duty of truth creates an obligation to be honest in procedural actions, which means that a party shall keep to the truth when making statements on the circumstances invoked by him or her in the case, and in commenting on the circumstances invoked by the opposing party (Code of Judicial Procedure chapter 14 section 1).

In a criminal case, the complainant has a so-called negative truth duty, which means that the complainant has no obligation to answer any questions. However, if the complainant decides to do so, he or she has an obligation to tell the truth (Government proposition to the Finnish Parliament 46/2014 p. 95).

In a criminal case, the defendant has no duty of truth. The duty of truth would contradict the principle that no one can be compelled to incriminate themselves (the privilege against self-incrimination).

The process fraud, or its attempt, is often considered when a party gives false information to the court. Most typically, the process fraud is done when giving a false statement at a trial.

A false statement in court can be a fraud in the statutory definition. Process fraud is a specific form of fraud and it does not have its own definition in our criminal law, hence the process fraud must be evaluated in the light of the frauds statutory definition in the Criminal Code (The Criminal Code of Finland chapter 36 section 1).

There are five basic characteristics of fraud: mistaking or taking advantage of a mistake, a mistake to the alleged victim as a result, an act of deception carried out by mistake, financial damage caused by mistake and the act is intentional. The requirement for intentionality means that the person knows the information they provide is quite likely to be inaccurate or misleading.

Process fraud causes the error of a court or other judicial authority in a criminal, dispute or administrative law case to issue an incorrect decision which is financially favoring or damaging a party. Process fraud is a fraud in the statutory definition, when the court, due to the misleading, ends up with a worse settlement for the other party than what it would be entitled to if the court had not been mistaken.

 What makes a basic form of fraud a process fraud is the fact that the misleading occurs in front of a judicial authority.

Aasa-Law Ltd assists in cases where there are reasons to suspect that a false statement has been given to the court. We also have experience in situations where a person is unjustifiably suspected of presenting false information to the court.

21.12.2020 Author:

The corona epidemic has had a significant impact on the ability of companies to pay. Restaurants and cafes have been closed by the government. Sales at several companies have ceased altogether or shrunk to just a fraction of the earlier one. Several of these companies do business in rented commercial premises.

The fixed-term lease of a business premises is valid for the agreed rental period. The legal practice has imposed a rather severe obligation on the tenant to pay the agreed rent throughout the duration of the contract. An indefinite lease may be terminated after the termination period agreed upon in the contract; at the same time, the obligation to pay rent is terminated.

The Act on the Rental of a Business Premises provides that the tenant may refer the reasonableness of the rent amount to the court for examination (The Act on the Rental of a Business Premises, Section 25). Reduction of rent can also be assessed on the basis of reasonableness provision (The Act on the Rental of a Business Premises, Section 5).

There is a higher threshold for changing the terms of the tenancy of a business premises than when renting a residential apartment, where, again, social aspects can be given bigger importance. This is because, in general, the rental of business premises is about the creation of a business relationship in which both the lessor and the tenant are engaged in business. In such a situation, the court intervenes in the agreement of the parties on the amount of rent only if the unreasonableness is clear (Government proposition to the Finnish Parliament 304/94 p. 115). During the corona epidemic, a situation may arise where the payment of the rent agreed in the lease becomes unreasonable. Any unreasonableness should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Matters about the amount of rent, including disagreements, make sense to settle primarily among the parties. Often the interest of both the lessor and the tenant is that the tenant’s business continues and, as a result, the continued payment of rent in the future will also be secured by mutual agreement. In such a situation, parties may agree, for example, to waive rent increases or a periodic rent reduction (Government proposition to the Finnish Parliament 304/94 p. 115).

An action about the reasonableness of the rent amount must be brought to the court during the tenancy (The Act on the Rental of a Business Premises, Section 25).

Attorney office Aasa-Law has handled several legal conflicts over the amount of rent in a commercial apartment, acting as legal counsel to both the lessor and tenant.

09.11.2020 Author:

The law office Aasa-Law Ltd has assisted the The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA) in the Oulu district court, in the Rovaniemi Court of Appeal and in the Supreme Court in the years 2007-2019 for the financial crime and matter of compensation for damage to the Riihi foundation.

The housing fund of the government has granted ARAVA and interest subsidy loans to the real estate company owned by the Riihi foundation in the years 1995-2001. It is about a procedure in which the public authority has been given false information and the public authority has been deceived financial support to activity that has not been purposed and the public authority does not even have a right to grant the support. By giving false information, it has had a significant effect on granting of the assistance.

The legal proceeding in question has been demanding and wide. The case entirety of the Riihi foundation is the biggest economic offense matter proceeding in the area of Oulu and Northern-Finland.

The Supreme Court gave its sentence to the matter at 25.5.2012. In this sentence, the Supreme Court accepted the statement of the reason presented by the ARA and ARA’s own summary penal orders on part of the forwarding loan of Arava- and interest subsidy loan assets. This matter has a common import. The common principles of the court decision impact other grants and support of the state, municipal and other common communities.

ARA has also presented compensation for damage claims of the size of 3,6 million euros. The damage done to the ARA is in its entirety credited interest paid to the real estate office and the investment expense to the government on the part of the Arava loan. Damages are demanded from the previous Riihi foundation board president Toivo Kanninen.

The Supreme Court awarded compensation for damage to ARA 6.2.2019. Toivo Kanninen was ordered to pay damages worth approximately 5 million euros including interest on delayed payments.

Aasa-Law assists with issues that are related to financial crimes and compensations for damages. We have years of experience acting on the behalf of both plaintiffs and suspects.

This matter was taken care of by advocate Simo Ellilä.

09.11.2020 Author:

In December 2017, the Helsinki Court of Appeal handed down a judgment on the violation of a business secret. The case concerned two former employees and the former owner of Tarha-Tuote Ltd, who were sentenced to imprisonment. At the same time, they were ordered to pay substantial damages. Tarha-Tuote Ltd is an import and wholesale company.

According to the Court of Appeal, the former employees and the former owner copied Tarha-Tuote Ltd’s business to its most profitable core. The defendants had begun to import and sell the products that had the best demand and the best sales margin. The defendants had detailed information on the business of Tarha-Tuote Ltd.

The competitive advantage of Tarha-Tuote Ltd was based on the utilization of data related to the acquisition and sales of product chain. This information Tarha-Tuote Ltd has received as a result of years of development work. Tarha-Tuote Ltd has purchased information concerning supplier and customer relationships through several business trades. The respondents directly copied those acquisition and sales chains of Tarha-Tuote Ltd’s products, which accounted for almost half of the net sales of Tarha-Tuote Ltd and which the profitability of Tarha-Tuote Ltd’s sales was largely based on. The business of Tarha-Tuote Ltd has later been transferred to Schetelig Ltd’s ownership.

Pursuant to Chapter 30, Section 11 of the Criminal Code, a business secret refers to a business or professional secret that and entrepreneur keeps secret and the disclosure of which would be conductive to causing financial loss. The definition of a business secret also requires that the information holder has both the will and the interests to keep the information undisclosed and that information is factually kept secret.

The Helsinki Court of Appeal considered that the defendants were guilty of the violation of a business secret. They were ordered to compensate for the damage suffered by Schetelig Ltd as a result of the loss of the sales margin over two years. Aasa-Law successfully represented Tarha-Tuote Ltd in the Court of Appeal.

Aasa-Law assist with the issues that are related to the protection of business secrets, to the drawing up a non-disclosure agreement or possible misuse of business secret. We also have expertise in a situation where a person or a company is groundlessly suspected of the illegal use of the business secret.

09.11.2020 Author:

The Employment Contracts Act determines when an employer has the right to terminate an employment contract.

An employment contract may terminate at the employer’s initiative either as a result of dismissal or cancellation of the employment. The employer has the right to terminate an indefinitely valid employment contract (permanent contract) only with proper and weighty reason. Reason for termination can be related either to the employee’s person or related to financial and production reasons.

The employee’s own proceeding entitles the employer to terminate the employment when the employee has seriously breached or neglected obligations that have essential impact on the employment relationship (Employment contracts act 7:2 §). The sphere of the regulation includes the worker’s delays, dishonesty and carelessness. Also, the fact that an employee can no longer cope with his or her assignments can justify dismissal. Termination of an employment contract requires that the employer has first issued a warning to the employee and allowed the employee to rectify its proceedings. No warning is required only if the case is particularly harmful.

The employer may terminate the employment contract if the work to be offered has diminished substantially and permanently for financial or production-related reasons or for reasons arising from the reorganization of the employer’s operations (Employment contracts act 7:3 §). The so-called collective ground may appear for example if the employer has a need to save costs or as a result of merging or termination of duties. The termination is permitted even if the employer’s business is profitable. However, if the employee can be placed in or trained for other job tasks the employer shall primarily offer that work.

Cancellation of the employment contract is much more severe and exceptional way of ending an employment contract. The employer is only upon an extremely weighty cause entitled to cancel an employment contract with an immediate effect regardless of the applicable period of notice or the duration of the employment contract (Employment contracts act 8:1§). Such a cause may be deemed to exist in case the employee commits a breach against or neglects duties in such a serious manner as to render it unreasonable to expect that the employer should continue the contractual relationship even for the period of notice.

Before ending an employment contract, the employer shall provide the employee with an opportunity to be heard regarding the grounds of the cancellation. The employee is entitled to use an assistant.

Several openly interpretable questions are connected with the ending of the employment. It is strongly recommendable to exercise due caution when terminating an employment contract as groundless termination or cancellation may lead to a notable liability for damages.

Law office Aasa-Law Oy have special expertise on all forms of termination of the employment. Aasa-Law oy advise clients on assignments relating to Finnish employment legislation.

19.07.2020 Author:

The business secret means secret information on various subjects which the company controls and which produces an economic competitive advantage to the company. The business secrets are valuable capital for companies and they allow the company’s competitiveness and standing out on the market.

The competitive advantage of the company may consist of numerous different factors, so the suitable business secret can be of any form as long as it is economically valuable within the branch of the company. The disclosure of the business secret would give the competitors an economic interest and thus would bring economic defeats to the company.

The concealment will of the holder of the information, the concealment interests of the holder of the information and the real concealment of the information have been set as the characteristics of the business secret. The company can protect its business secrets with agreements, with technical and physical protective measures (for example the usernames and passwords of computers and access control) and by avoiding the unnecessary sharing of the information.

The business secrets are often the combination or collection of information that separately is not necessarily a business secret. The business secret cannot be individual well-known information or individual information that is easy to find out, but it is possible that the business secret is the combination of itself well-known information.

Employment Contracts Act, Unfair Business Practises Act and The Criminal Code of Finland protect business secrets. Employment Contracts Act prohibits employee from utilizes the employer’s business secrets during the term of employment. If the employee has obtained such information unlawfully, the prohibition continues after the termination of the employment relationship. Pursuant to The Criminal Code of Finland 30:5, a person who unlawfully discloses the business secret or unlawfully utilizes such a business secret can be sentenced for the violation of a business secret.

Pursuant to the Criminal Code of Finland 30:5 the drawing up of the concealment agreement is no more an essential condition in the situations where employer wants to protect the business secrets after the termination of the employment of the employee. The Criminal Code of Finland 30:5 improved the level of the protection of business secrets in Finland. The offences of the business secrets are usually dealt with in the courts as criminal cases. However the concealment agreement often clarifies the situation.

Law office Aasa-Law Oy helps to identify the business secret. We help in the matters which are related to the protecting of business secrets, to the drawing up of the agreement or to the possible abuse of the business secret. We have special expertise also in the situation if the person and the company are groundlessly suspected of the illegal use of the business secret.

We provide services to individual people and companies. Contact us, we're happy to help!