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In 2016, the Finnish tax authorities ordered public broadcaster YLE to hand over documents leaked from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. Today, the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) held that the Tax Administration had no right to demand YLE to hand over documents. Our Tax partner, Jouni Weckström represented YLE in this extremely interesting case, which will serve as a precedent in future disclosure obligation matters.
The so-called Panama Papers leak included more than 11 million documents. They were originally handed over to a German newspaper by an anonymous source.
Some 400 journalists from more than 100 media organizations in over 80 countries joined in analysing the data. As part of this unprecedented effort, two YLE reporters were given access to the documents. They found that a number of Finnish individuals and firms were involved in setting up and taking advantage of offshore tax havens.
The Finnish Tax Administration requested a full surrender of and access to all the related material held by YLE, but YLE denied. Even if the matter itself entailed a strong and clear context of weighing of the freedom of speech and the protection of journalistic source as constitutional rights against the obligation to surrender third party information, the SAC did not find a need to go that deep. In other words, the case was decided based on “just” tax procedural rules whereby a request for full surrender with no specified case to be assessed is not in accordance with the law.
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Waselius & Wist represented Cockerill Maintenance & Ingénierie, a Belgian engineering group, in its acquisition of Oy Galvatek Ab, a leading Finnish automated surface treatment plant provider.
Waselius & Wist represented eQ Fund Management Company Ltd acting in the name and on behalf of eQ Finnish Real Estate (in Finnish: Erikoissijoitusrahasto eQ Liikekiinteistöt) as the buyer in the sale by PATRIZIA Immobilien Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH acting for the account of the special AIF PATRIZIA Büro-Invest Europa I of commercial office property located in close vicinity of Helsinki city centre at Ruoholahti, Itämerenkatu 5. The target populates approx. 20 tenants and the transaction is W&I insured.
Value: MEUR 41.
Waselius & Wist represented Inlook Group, a leading Finnish service company supplying interior building solutions, in its acquisition of Montagegruppen. Montagegruppen is a leading Swedish provider of ceilings, acoustic solutions and special installations.
Waselius & Wist advised BBAM Aircraft Management LP in connection with the sale and leaseback of an Airbus A350 Aircraft between Finnair and Nomura Babcock Brown Co. Ltd.
Waselius & Wist represented EVRY, one of the leading IT services and software providers in the Nordic region, in its negotiations with Handelsbanken in Finland of an agreement for the delivery of next-generation core banking and payment solutions. The agreement runs for a period of eight years and is an important step for EVRY in its strategy of continuing to grow its presence in the Nordic and international markets. EVRY is one of the leading IT services and software providers in the Nordic region.
For more information, please visit: https://www.evry.com/en/news/articles/handelsbanken-in-finland-and-evry-enter-into-a-strategic-agreement/
Waselius & Wist successfully represented Maksuturva Group Oy in Market Court proceedings relating to a major procurement of card payment services and invoice based payment services by Helsinki Regional Transport (”Helsingin Seudun Liikenne”).
Value: Total value of procurement some MEUR 4-5 million
Waselius & Wist represented Brunswick Corporation in the sale of its joint venture interest in Bella Boats to Nimbus Boats. Bella and Nimbus will form one of the largest leisure boat manufacturer in the Nordics with a combined turnover of some EUR 70 million.
Waselius & Wist successfully advised Santander Consumer Finance Oy in the 7th securitisation of auto loan hire purchase contracts originated by Santander Consumer Finance Oy. Santander Consumer Finance Oy is a Finnish finance company and a market leader in auto financing and a member of the Santander Consumer Finance- and Santander -groups.
Value: EUR 665.3 million
Our tax partner Mr Jouni Weckström represented successfully a company engaged in wind farming industry and issued Feed-in Tariff by the Finnish Energy Authority. In the claim made by the Finnish Tax Recipients’ Legal Services Unit it was insisted that the company had in fact committed to produce electricity against the State contributed Feed-in Tariff and therefore the Feed-in Tariff was to be seen as a counterpart to the sale of such service (to the Finnish Energy Authority). It was further claimed that the Feed-in Tariff received by the company should be considered a subsidy directly linked to the price of the electricity sold by the company. The subsidy should thereby, according to the claim, be treated as a consideration to be added to the VAT base of the sales by the company. The claim was dismissed yet the decision of the Helsinki Administrative Court can be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court. The final decision will have definitive impact widely in the renewable energy sector and it will make an important precedent in outlining the scope of the VAT Act and the VAT Directive.