Europe

Finnish police officer cleared over Putin crime error

Vladimir Putin at a bikers' rally at the Black Sea, 2011 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Not a gang member - Putin chills at a patriotic Black Sea biker rally

The last of three Finnish police officers charged with negligence over the appearance of Vladimir Putin's name on a crime database has been cleared.

There were red faces in the police department when it emerged in 2013 that Mr Putin had wrongly been put on the database as a suspected contributor to Russian gang-related crime.

An appeal court cleared the last of them and charges against two others were quashed earlier by a lower court.

The Kremlin has not yet commented.

Russia has occasionally had prickly relations with its neighbour, but when the mistake first emerged, the Kremlin was said to have reacted with "irony" and not pressed for action to be taken.

Finnish prosecutors established that a list of those suspected of crimes which could carry a sentence of at least six months was full of errors. The Russian leader happened to be on it, though it is not clear why.

Clearing the officer, the appeal court found that, though in charge of the internal database, he could not be held criminally liable because his duties has not been clearly enough defined.

The revelation by Finnish media of Mr Putin's presence on the list led police to apologise for a "serious error".

An investigation was launched and the list examined to expunge erroneous entries.

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