Story copied from today’s Times (UK)
February 11, 2004
Flying Finn hit by ï¿½116,000 speeding ticket
By Ian Evans
IF YOU have been flashed by a speed camera and are waiting to see whether a ï¿½60 fine turns up in the post, spare a thought for Jussi Salonoja.
Heir to his familyï¿½s sausage fortune and one of Finlandï¿½s richest men, the 27-year-old has just been fined a record ï¿½116,000 for exceeding the speed limit. Mr Salonoja was caught last Thursday by police travelling 80km per hour (50mph) in a 40kph zone in downtown Helsinki.
The resulting penalty was so large because, unlike Britainï¿½s, Finnish speeding fines reflect the driverï¿½s income. And there is no way you can plead poverty as police have direct access to offendersï¿½ tax records.
Mr Salonoja is certainly in a position to pay his fine. In 2002 his earnings were believed to be somewhere in the region of ï¿½4.8 million.
It is not the first time that the wealthy motorist has had a brush with traffic police. Four years ago he was fined a more modest ï¿½27,000 for driving 200kph in a 120kph zone.
This time he might be hoping for some leniency when the case goes before the courts. Anssi Vanjoki, a Nokia executive, saw his ï¿½79,000 speeding fine reduced by 95 percent in 2002 after his income plummeted following the stock market crash. If, however, Mr Salonojaï¿½s penalty does stand, it will beat a speeding fine of more than ï¿½55,000 paid by the internet millionaire, Jaakko Rytsola, in 2000, and the ï¿½24,000 fine imposed on the Nokia president, Pekka Ala-Pietila, for running a red light in 2001.
So while some British drivers might hate speed cameras perhaps we should be grateful that we have not adopted the Finnish system ï¿½ yet.