The Finnish police will not initiate a preliminary criminal investigation into the case of the allegedly irregular payments of meal benefits to Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Helsinki police made their decision public on Thursday in a statement issued after 3:00 pm, when hundreds of thousands of Finns were on their way to their resting places to celebrate Misummer (Juhannus, in Finnish), one of the country's most celebrated traditions.
According to information issued by the Prime Minister's Office, between January 2020 and May 2021 Prime Minister Sanna Marin received more than 14,000 euros (850 euros per month, on average) in meal benefits which were not declared to the tax authority.
These benefits were enjoyed by her and her family in the form of breakfasts and 'cold meals' at the official residence of Kesäranta from the start of her mandate.
The case, known in Finland as aamiaisgate ('breakfastgate', in English) sparked controversy and allegations of corruption ahead of municipal elections on June 13. The police decided to look into the matter to clarify if any official had committed irregularities.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin promised in early June to return the more than 14,000 euros to taxpayers.
No crime suspected
The Helsinki police carried out an assessment as to whether there were grounds to suspect any crime related to the case.
The findings revealed that the reimbursement for breakfast and cold meals to Sanna Marin was "based on a well-established interpretation by the Prime Minister's Office" of a provision in the Prime Minister's remuneration law related to the provision of housing for the premier.
According to the police, there is no reason to suspect a breach of duty.
The subject of the assessment was not the Prime Minister herself, but the procedures of other officials in the Prime Minister's Office.