Accel partner arrested in Sonera probe

Former Sonera chief executive and current partner at Accel Partners Kaj-Erik Relander has been arrested as part of investigations into corruption at the Finnish telecoms operator.

Accel Partners, the US venture capital technology investor with offices in Palo Alto and London, is facing uncertainty over the future of one of its partners as a result of investigations into information leaks at Finnish telecoms operator Sonera.


Accel partner Kaj-Eric Relander, former chief executive of Sonera, has submitted himself voluntarily for arrest to the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation, on suspicion of ‘gross violation secrecy of communications’ at Sonera. The enquiry relates to incidents which took place prior to Relander joining Accel Partners, during his tenure as CEO at Sonera between January and August 2001.


Police are investigating claims originating in Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat alleging that Sonera's corporate security unit traced phone calls from dozens of employees to locate the source of leaked negative corporate information to reporters between 2000 and 2001.


Last Friday, Finnish police arrested Jari Jaakkola, executive vice president and member of Sonera’s executive management team and another unnamed employee of the company. Both persons have been relieved of their duties for the time being. In total, five Sonera employees, including two senior executives, have been arrested in the last week, although one employee was yesterday released without charge.


Sonera, currently the subject of a merger deal with Swedish telecoms group Telia, and Accel Partners have both declined to comment.