Onni Sarmaste is a businessman who rose to prominence with lightning speed when the Finnish Center for Security Ordered him with protective equipment for a coronavirus for 5 million euros. The money has already been paid to him in full, the Security of Supply Center confirmed on Thursday.
However, the protective equipment was not of the expected quality as it did not pass laboratory tests and is not suitable for hospital use. Instead, they can be used in home care, for example.
A man from many companies
Sarmaste, 38, is linked to several companies. The unifying factor for them is that almost all of his companies are risky companies i.e. their operations have ceased or are in poor oxygen.
Not all net sales or earnings are known.
The man also has business operations in Hungary, Britain and Estonia, says Helsingin Sanomat.
Among other things, Sarmaste has run an express tip business through a company called CC Finance.
The operating profit peaked at around EUR 250,000 in 2012, but three years later the same amount was incurred. In the intervening years, the company made a zero profit.
Today, the company has gone out of business, as has Reikäpääyhtiöt Oy, in which Sarmaste was involved, due to the missing financial statements.
Sarmaste is also the managing director of Finance Group Helsinki Oy, which focuses on management consulting, and the decision-maker of the consulting company Red Cell Group Oy and Veripalvelu Pisara Oy, which conducts laboratory tests.
In addition, Sarmaste acts as the representative of the Finnish branch of Nordic Biocosmetic Production AB, which specializes in the manufacture and sale of skin care and hygiene products and the import, export and distribution of technochemical products.
46,000 euros in foreclosure
Sarmaste has not told which company Huoltovarmuuskeskus has entered into an agreement with. Tomi Lounema, CEO of Huoltovarmuuskeskus, did not disclose the names of trading partner companies either, although he was asked to do so on several occasions and he himself stated that this information was public.
On Thursday, Sarmaste told IS that he had paid off his debt. IS asked the bailiff's office for a certificate from the man's bailiff's register, and he has not yet paid much of his debts.
The businessman has an 11-page bailout register. The foreclosure for 2019 and 2020 includes YEL insurance premiums, 23 parking error premiums, car tax, traffic insurance, criminal fine and other claims under private law.
The largest amounts range from 10,000 to just over 28,000 euros, but most of the sums that go to foreclosure are less than 100 euros.
Sarmaste has debts to, among others, the Internet bank Bank Norwegian, which, like fast-tip companies, does not require guarantors for its loan.
A total of 46,000 euros will be written off.
According to the tax administration, the man had no taxable income at all in Finland in 2010–2016. In 2017, his taxable earned income was EUR 16,634 and in 2018, EUR 41,636.
There are two versions of how Sarmaste ended up as a trading partner of the Security of Supply Center. According to Sarmaste, the IGC unequivocally ordered protective equipment from her company, but according to beauty clinic entrepreneur Tiina Jylhä and her agent Kari Uoti, Sarmaste took a million-dollar deal in front of Jylhä's nose.
According to Uoti, Sarmaste was to act only as a consultant, but according to Uoti, Sarmaste had provided the Service Security Center with his own account number as the payment address, at which point millions ended up in his account.
Sarmaste, for his part, says that Jylhä's company was only involved in the initial phase, but dropped out of the negotiations, among other things, because the company did not have the opportunity to supply protective equipment to the IGC.
In addition, Sarmaste accuses Jylha of intimidation. According to Sarmaste, Jylhä, who works as a beauty entrepreneur, threatened to put a motorcycle gang behind him.
At Thursday's press conference, Tomi Lounema, CEO of Huoltovarmuuskeskus, did not comment on whether Sarmaste acted as Jylhä's company consultant, as Kari Uoti, a lawyer acting as Jylhä's representative, told IS earlier on Thursday. Lounema, in its own words, has no information about what the parties have talked to each other.
Read more: Finland's mask mask scandal: A businessman now tells of his own version of a million-dollar trade