Supreme Court: Alko’s monopoly is not in conflict with EU law – an Estonian man convicted in the so-called Alkotaxi case

In 2009, an Estonian entrepreneur sold alcoholic beverages online on the Alkotaxi website and arranged their home delivery to Finnish customers.

The Supreme Court of Finland convicted the Estonian entrepreneur who sold alcoholic beverages on a website of an alcohol offence. The Supreme Court increased the sentence of the Estonian entrepreneur in the so-called Alkotaxi case from six to eight months of conditional imprisonment. The entrepreneur was convicted of online sales and home delivery of alcohol both in a district court and in a court of appeal.

The key question was whether Finnish alcohol legislation conflicts with European Union law, as claimed by the entrepreneur.

The Supreme Court considered that Alko’s retail trade monopoly and the Finnish retail trade licence system do not conflict with European Union law.

The court decision is a significant guideline decision as, in its ruling, the Supreme Court assessed Alko’s retail trade monopoly and the retail trade licence system related to mild alcoholic beverages from the point of view of EU law.

Previously, a court of appeal had partly dropped the charge of an alcohol offence as it considered that home delivery of mild alcoholic beverages could not be prohibited.

In summer 2009, the entrepreneur sold alcoholic beverages to private persons living in Finland. Deals were made via the company’s website, after which the entrepreneur imported the beverages from Estonia to Finland and then arranged their home delivery to the buyers.

The Supreme Court considered this trading to constitute retail trade prohibited in the Alcohol Act. As a result, the entrepreneur was guilty of an alcohol offence.

Source: Finnish News Agency STT