Santa Claus is bankrupt

Santa has been forced to file for bankruptcy over a 200,000 Euro tax bill

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The Independent Online

Your children might be heartbroken this Christmas after Santa’s Office, based in Lapland, Finland declared itself bankrupt on Thursday night due to an unpaid €200,000 (£143,537) tax bill.

Around 300,000 tourists from 100 different countries visit Santa in person in his official office in Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland each year.

However, the popular attraction has suffered from a sharp drop in visitors from recession-hit Russia, once the venue most frequent customers.

“First, there were fewer tourists coming from Greece, then from Spain, Italy and Portugal, and eventually from Russia,” Jarmo Kariniemi, managing director of the Santa Claus Office, told the AFP, referring to the economic downturn in those countries.

Santa’s Office is part of a theme park called Santa Claus Village hosting several companies, which are not affected by the court proceedings.

The business employs 20 people but Kariniemi hopes that the centre can be saved from closure within the next week: “We will take care of it. We have already collected half of the sum,” he told AFP.

Despite fears that Santa Claus might be out of a job this Christmas, the head of the Rovaniemi Regional Development Agency, Juha Seppala, also said his organization would make sure Santa is there in the future.

“There is no way the village would be left without Santa Claus. The activities will continue in one way or another.” he told AFP.

As news of bankruptcy emerged Santa's staff were keen to stress business continued as usual for the spirit of Christmas in a message on Santa Claus Office official Facebook page.

"Despite the current news, lets keep smiling and work for a better future. Tide will change, we have a week to turn this around. With love, the Santa's Helpers at Santa Claus Office."