The scandal caused in Finland by public aid given to millionaire companies in the times of the coronavirus has also made headlines about Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP).
At a time when thousands of small and middle size companies are going through a very difficult situation, many Finnish entrepreneurs became angry after learning that the funding from the state financial company Business Finland has in many cases gone to the accounts of big service companies (for example consultants) with millions of euros of turnover.
That is the case of the company MarkkinointiAkatemia, where the husband of the Prime Minister, Markus Räikkönen, works as a communications director.
Located in Tampere, the company had a turnover of 6.8 million euros and a profit of 0.8 million in the last financial year, according to the Trade Register.
Still, the firm got 45,000 euros from Business Finland.
Image sources: Suomen Asiakastieto/Finder.fi. Screenshot.
It was Sanna Marin herself who on Tuesday wrote in her Twitter account about the money received by MarkkinointiAkatemia. She did it while some Finnish newspapers were scrutinizing all supported companies. The same day, the Minister for Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä, announced an audit of the grants and how the beneficiaries were selected.
"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.
A software company
But that was not all.
On Wednesday 22 April, the Prime Minister had to admit that Haltu Oy, a software company from Tampere in which Sanna Marin's husband is a member of the Board of Directors, also received 60,000 euros from Business Finland.
"He did not participate in the application for the grant," Marin emphasizes in her tweet.
"I have been informed today that the company where my husband is a member of the Board of Directors has also received a grant from Business Finland. He has no ownership of the company and he is not involved in the operational activities. He has also not participated in applying for the grant," the Prime Minister said.
Haltu Oy had a turnover of 1.1 million euros in the last year which shows in the trade registry records. But unlike the other company in which Markus Räikkönen works, it ended the last financial year with losses of 116,000 euros.
The Government has explained publicly that Business Finland's aid to overcome the problems caused by the coronavirus is not intended to rescue companies in trouble, but so that successful companies can continue innovating.
But this argument has not convinced many, as some companies that have received high amounts of money are showing losses in their last records, as is the case with Haltu Oy.
Complaints in social media
Finnish people also did not like that some of the subsidized businesses are linked to celebrities or to politicians.
Some of the public even mentioned the word corruption in their complaints, and this is a major issue in a country that boasts of being the cleanest and most transparent when it comes to managing taxpayers' money.