Book keeps Finland guessing

  • 2002-08-08
A mysterious book published anonymously on the Internet, detailing Finnish state-controlled phone operator Sonera's failed next-generation mobile phone venture in Germany, has left Finns guessing.

The book raised so much curiosity in Helsinki that a newspaper last week offered a 1,000 euro reward to anyone who can name its author, in an attempt to substantiate the claims put forward in the book.

The book, which mixes fact with fiction, was initially dismissed as an effort to slander Sonera and its management when it was published on the Internet a month ago.

Since then, Sonera has written off as a complete loss its 4 billion euro investment in a next-generation, or 3G, mobile phone license in Germany, bringing the book back to light and giving it new credence.

But the book's claims that the former head of Sonera embezzled tens of millions of euros from the company and enrolled the Russian mob to help him control it have made it difficult for most readers to take it at face value.

Sonera owns a 49 percent in Latvia's fixed-line monopoly Lattelekom and also a 24.5 percent stake in the top mobile-phone operator Latvijas Mobilais Telefons.