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Finland says secret government emails leaked to media

April 14, 2015

The Finnish government admitted on Tuesday that confidential government emails — some dealing with EU sanctions against neighbouring Russia — had been sent to the media.

“Last week, we were informed that these emails, I do not know their number, were in the hands of people who should not have them,” said government spokesman Markku Mantila.

“To our knowledge, these emails have been offered up to at least one Finnish media outlet.”

The disclosure came ahead of Finland’s April 19 parliamentary elections but Mantila said he was unaware of any links between the revelation of the leaks and the polls.

The question of how to deal with an assertive Russia has been one of the key themes of the election campaign behind concerns over the economy, in recession for the past three years.

European Union member Finland shares a border with Russia and has opted for closer cooperation with NATO in the wake of Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Finland has also criticised forays by Russian military aircraft into its airspace.

Mantila did not provide any details about the recipients of the emails or who sent them but added that some of the correspondence dated back to the time of previous Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen.

Katainen stepped down as premier last year and Alexander Stubb took over as the head of the left-right coalition government currently in power.

An investigation has been opened into the matter but no suspects have been identified yet.

“We do not know whether these emails were leaked or if they were hacked,” Mantila said.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.