Oulu The trial of suspected crimes in the operations of the company Uros begins today in the district court.
The founders of the technology company are accused of gross aid fraud Jyrki Hallikai and Tommi Uharia. The police have previously said that the suspects denied the acts during the preliminary investigation.
The trial begins with a preparatory session, in which the accused are not obliged to participate. The main hearing is scheduled to begin in April. Today, however, the prosecutor’s subpoena application and the police’s preliminary investigation will be published.
Millions of euros of public money
The case concerns product development loans and grants worth more than six million euros in total, which Uros, which has since gone bankrupt, received from Business Finland in the 2010s. According to the police, the suspects gave misleading information to Business Finland and concealed facts that would have been of essential importance in terms of receiving grants.
At the time of the alleged crime in 2011–2015, Uhari was the company’s CEO and Hallikainen was the chairman of the board. Uhari left Uros some years ago, Hallikainen has been the main owner of Uros.
Uros was declared bankrupt at the beginning of 2022. In its bankruptcy decision, the district court considered that the company was other than temporarily insolvent as intended by the bankruptcy act. According to the court, at that time Uros had debts of at least 13.5 million euros and only about 14,000 euros in cash.
Confidential agreements with an affiliate
In the years 2011–2013, Uros received product development loans of almost five million euros and a grant of 1.25 million euros from the then Tekes, or now Business Finland. At the end of 2020, Business Finland ordered the money to be repaid immediately.
STT said in the fall of 2021 that there was probably no corresponding real business behind the great profits reported by Uros. At that time, STT also reported that Uros had only paid part of the interest on its Business Finland loans in almost ten years.
According to Business Finland, in 2019 and 2020 it became aware of matters that Uros had concealed and which would have led to the fact that funding would not have been granted. According to it, Uros hid from the financier the contracts by which the results developed or achieved in the financed projects were sold and handed over to the Luxembourg subsidiary.
The acquisitions were ordered to be cancelled
According to Uros’s bankruptcy estate, the Luxembourg subsidiaries were subsequently used to move Uros’s assets out of the reach of creditors.
In December 2020, Uros sold the subsidiaries to the group’s parent company Uros Ag for a total purchase price of around 25,000 euros. According to the bankruptcy estate, the deals were significantly underpriced, as the subsidiaries had a total of more than EUR 320 million in assets on their balance sheets at the time of the deals.
The purchase prices were also never paid, but were recorded in Uros’ accounting as receivables from the sold subsidiaries.
In October of last year, the Oulu District Court ordered the cancellation of the business transactions. The district court decided the case with a unilateral verdict, because Jyrki Hallikainen, who was considered the representative of Uros Ag in the case, did not respond to the bankruptcy estate’s claim within the deadline.