Finnish journalists slandered after catching corrupt police chief

Two Finnish journalists, Susanna Reinboth and Minna Passi, experienced personal attacks after uncovering a Finnish police chief's corrupt dealings with the mafia.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Finnish journalists slandered after catching corrupt police chief - NewsMavens
Reinboth and Passi. Facebook

Why this story matters:

Susanna Reinboth and Minna Passi published a series of articles showing how Finnish underground crime boss Keijo Vilhunen and the head of Helsinki's anti-drug police Jari Aarnio were working together.

Their articles sparked a wave of personal attacks towards the two women.

It took Reinboth and Passi around eight months to prepare the story for Helsingin Sanomat, one of the most influential newspapers in Finland. After publications the journalists were submitted to various forms of harassment.

For example, a rumor was spread that they slept with their sources to gather information.

"We were heavily attacked," Reinboth says in an interview to Eesti Ekspress. "According to one of the rumors, I was in a relationship with the central criminal police officer, whom I barely knew."

Passi: "They tried to make us fight with each other. The policemen were badmouthing Susanna in front of me."

They point out that those who supported the chief of the anti-drug squad were mostly men, but those who exposed him were women --- the two journalists, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the prosecutor and one of the key witnesses were all women.

Details from the story:

  • Jari Aarnio was a well-known policeman, who was leading the Helsinki drug police and confiscated a huge amounts of drugs.
  • Aarnio has been suspected of several crimes (and convicted in the Helsinki District Court), but by now, only one case has been finalized. The Helsinki Appeal Court handed Aarnio a three-year unconditional prison sentence for a white-collar crime. Aarnio, as it turns out, ordered new tracking equipment for his police unit from his own company. Both Aarnio and Keijo Vilhunen were involved with this firm.
  • He is facing eight drug-related felony charges that could carry an additional prison sentence of up to 11 years.
  • The court decision at the district court was almost a thousand pages.
  • Helsingin Sanomat journalists Susanna Reinboth and Minna Passi published a book about  Aarnio last year. The first edition of the 400-page book was sold in a day and won the Bonnier book award.
  • There was even a mini-series made with Reinboth and Passi as the main characters (played by actors). Here's the trailer (with English subtitles).

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