The report published by the Interior Ministry states that the handling of Finnish citizenship applications from Gennady Timchenko Russian oligarch’s Finnish citizenship and his family members in the 1990s complied with the regulations in effect at that time.
The investigation is now looking into what the Directorate of Immigration (now called the Immigration Service or Migri) and its current head, Matti Saarelainen, did when the Timchenko family applied for immigration. Additionally, it evaluates the role that the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) played in the procedure.
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Saarelianen was also employed at Supo in the past.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been friends with Timchenko since the early 1990s, and the government began looking into how he obtained the passports quickly.
According to Helsingin Sanomat, Timchenko’s business partner, Kai Paananen, has asked Saarelainen to accelerate the family’s applications.
The ministry, which oversees the operations of both offices, notes in its report that the decision has sparked a public debate.
The report stated, “The Ministry of the Interior concluded that the Immigration Office had not violated the citizenship regulations in force at the time,” and it also stated that no problems that arose during the investigation called for additional action.
Nonetheless, the report’s findings are so weighty that the ministry intends to evaluate Supo’s internal monitoring processes and their implementation shortly.
Supo to “study report closely”
Chief of Supo Antti Pelttari responded to the findings by underscoring the importance of the ministry looking into a subject that has attracted a lot of public attention. He added that his organization would carefully review the findings and decide what needed to be done.
“However, it can already be said that there is a need for improvement, particularly in the area of risk management. We have already put this issue at the top of our internal audit agenda so that we have clear procedures for dealing with risks related to our staff,” Antti Pelttari wrote in a Supo press release.
He goes on to say that Supo is better suited to handle the case’s fallout, but he also stresses how important it is for the agency’s operations to maintain the privacy of sensitive information.
“However, it is equally important that Finnish society retains confidence in the Finnish Security Service. This requires that the public documents of the service are also available to the media,” he said.