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Finnish minister resigns over Greenpeace row

October 11, 2013

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s minister in charge of oversight of state-owned companies has resigned after her ministry persuaded a state-owned shipping company not to press criminal charges against Greenpeace activists who boarded two icebreakers last year.

Heidi Hautala acknowledged on Friday that both her assistant and a high-ranking ministry official had urged Arctia Shipping to drop charges against the environmental activists and urged the company to work out differences instead.

Green Party-member Hautala is known to have close links to Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs, though she denies she wanted to protect the organization.

Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has accepted the resignation.

Hautala had been international development minister since 2011 in the current government and was previously a lawmaker in the Finnish and European parliaments.

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