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Finland's Public Prosecutor has insisted that the Finnish Government was not involved in the decision-making process which led the telecommunications operator Sonera to acquire expensive third generation UMTS mobile telephony licences in Europe. The Prosecutor' office has issued a statement indicating that "according to an enquiry by Chief Public Prosecutor Paavo Nikula, neither the government nor its individual members participated in Sonera decisions on UMTS. It was found that "neither the members of the Government nor officials with the Ministry of Transport and Communications failed in their official functions or acted illegally".

Failed investments by Sonera in UMTS in Europe, which have led the operator to the brink of bankruptcy, are an embarrassment by its leading shareholder, the State (52.8%) and Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who finally acknowledged after several months of dispute that his Government had shown a lack of vigilance in monitoring the operator's activities. Mr Lipponen nevertheless dismissed any direct responsibility on the part of his Government in the acquisition of licences. The Public Prosecutor's Office launched an enquiry in August to determine the State's role in the...

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