Former Finnish star charged with fraud

Wed, 27 Oct 15:50:00 2010

A former Olympic medal-winning Finnish cross country skier and three officials from the Finnish Ski Association have been charged with aggravated fraud, District Prosecutor Mikko Jaatinen has said.

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"Four persons have been accused - the former skier Jari Rasanen, former coaches Pekka Vahasoyrinki and Antti Leppavuori and former chief of cross-country skiing Jari Piirainen. They are accused of aggravated fraud," Jaatinen confirmed.

The four are charged in relation to a 1999 libel case against the STT news agency editor-in-chief Kari Vaisanen and reporter Johanna Aatsalo-Sallinen.

STT had published an article suggesting that Rasanen had used banned substances during his career and that leading figures in the FSA were aware of it.

"The journalists were convicted of that crime and they got fines in the Court of Appeal. The District Court had sentenced them to prison, and of course, quite big damages to be paid to Jari Rasanen," said Jaatinen.

The four accused are now suspected of giving false information during the libel investigation.

Asked when the accused were likely to appear in court, Jaatinen said it was now a matter for the District Court.

"That's something that the District Court of Helsinki will decide. I am waiting for them to contact me with the schedule."

Rasanen, who competed in his last official International Ski Federation race in 1997, won two bronze medals at the Winter Olympics in 1992 and 1994 when he was part of the Finnish 4x 10km relay team.

Reuters

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