HELSINKI – Money laundering suspicions cast shadow over state-owned mining company

A huge information leak of some 2,500 documents to the US authorities by several international banks on Sunday (20 September) revealed that Singapore-based commodities giant Trafigura is suspected of wide-spread money laundering and corruption.

As Finland’s government decided in 2017 to share ownership of Finnish nickel producing company Terrafame with Trafigura and confirmed, at the time, that Trafigura’s operations and credibility had been thoroughly examined by external consultants, the reveal is embarrassing for the authorities, politicians and Terraframe.

In 2017, Trafigura became a minority shareholder of Terrafame, while the government became the company’s majority shareholder. Currently, the state owns 70% of the company while Trafigura holds 30%.

Trafigura is now suspected of market manipulation and money transfers worth hundreds of millions of euros to tax havens and dormant companies.

Terrafame, for its part, has faced a series of environmental scandals and financial difficulties but politicians were desperate to keep the company running and retain close to 2,000 jobs vital for the north-eastern part of the country, where the company is located.

As of Monday (21 September), neither Finnish politicians nor Trafigura have commented on the accusations. Terrafame said that it has been content with its cooperation with Trafigura and that the news  does not affect future projects.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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