Nokia denies idea of leaving Finland

Nokia has denied threats that the company would leave its native Finland if laws in electronic data protection and surveillance were not changed, refuting a newspaper article that first reported the threat.

The Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported that Nokia wanted the laws, which bar companies from looking at private emails sent from company computers, relaxed. The handset maker, the world's largest, allegedly investigated one of its employees who the company had suspected of passing confidential information to Chinese equipment vendor Huawei, and in doing so, looked in his private email. The newspaper said that though this was illegal, no charges were brought because of a lack of evidence.  

Nokia then lobbied the Finnish government to make changes in the laws, according to the newspaper, and threatened to leave the country if the laws were not changed. Nokia spokeswoman Arja Suominen denied the company had not threatened to move. "[The] Helsingin Sanomat article is quite polemic," she said. "It contains many mistakes and misunderstandings."

Nokia generates around $1.7 billion in tax revenues and employs 16,000 people in the country. The company, which still has the largest market share in the global handset market, reported a 69 percent drop in fourth quarter profits, driven by weak demand, and said that it predicted a 10 percent drop in handset shipments in 2009.

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