December 21, 2018 / 2:08 PM / 5 months ago

Finnish MP suspected of claiming sauna as his second home

A view of the building where Ville Vahamaki of the nationalist Finns Party rented premises in Toolo, downtown Helsinki, Finland August 10, 2018. Lehtikuva/Antti Aimo-Koivisto/via REUTERS

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s police are investigating whether a Finnish lawmaker cheated parliament out of 13,000 euros after claiming allowances for a second home that turned out to be a Helsinki sauna.

The member of parliament, Ville Vahamaki of the nationalist Finns Party, denied any wrongdoing in a statement.

Finnish tabloid Iltalehti reported in July he and another member of parliament had been claiming elevated housing allowances for a sauna facility which they had rented from a chief police officer in the basement of an apartment building.

“In practice, I use it for laundry and so forth,” Vahamaki told the newspaper at the time.

Vahamaki is suspected of having defrauded parliament of around 13,000 euros ($14,830) in the form of unjustified allowances, the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation said in a statement, adding he had already paid the money back.

The prosecutor will now consider the charges. Police found no grounds to suspect the other member of parliament of a similar fraud.

Finland has a population of just 5.5 million people but is home to around 3 million saunas.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Alison Williams

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