Lemminkäinen considers court ruling

By Sandy Guthrie11 April 2017

Finnish contractor Lemminkäinen is considering whether to appeal a decision by the Helsinki Court of Appeal over environmental infraction charges against the company and two of its employees.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that Lemminkäinen should pay €3.4 million.

This decision amends a District Court of Tuusula decision from June 2015, when Lemminkäinen and two employees were cleared of environmental infraction charges.

The decision is related to the quotas for the amount of recycled asphalt used in asphalt mass production, as defined in the environmental permits of the company’s Sammonmäki asphalt plant in Finland.

The prosecutor demanded a confiscation of illegal profit of €3.4 million and a corporate fine of at least €120,000 from Lemminkäinen.

As was the case with the District Court, the Court of Appeal ruled that the use of recycled asphalt in asphalt production did not spoil the environment. However, the defendants who were responsible for operating the Sammonmäki asphalt plant had not complied with the environmental permit, as the asphalt plant had used more recycled asphalt than allowed.

The two Lemminkäinen employees were, therefore, sentenced to fines for breaching the environmental protection law.    

In addition, Lemminkäinen has been sentenced to the confiscation of illegal profit of €3.4 million, which, according to the Court of Appeal, the company saved in its production costs by exceeding its recycled asphalt quotas.

Lemminkäinen said it would record the expense in its first quarter result. The claim related to the corporate fine was rejected.

Lemminkäinen has said the claim was without foundation. It said it would now study the decision of the Court of Appeal carefully. After this, the company will decide whether there are grounds for requesting leave to appeal from the Supreme Court.

In January, Lemminkäinen and the State of Finland settled a dispute concerning damages related to decisions in an asphalt cartel case. As a result, both parties withdrew their requests for leave to appeal and their appeals from the Supreme Court.

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