10 Oct 2019
A court in Helsinki has dismissed all charges in the largest money laundering case ever tried by a Finnish court, in which two Estonian nationals were suspected of laundering €135 million in total.
Finland’s public broadcaster Yle reported that the district court’s decision is not final and can be appealed.
According to prosecutors, the Estonians laundered approximately €135 million of illicitly obtained Russian money into third countries via a Finnish company. Central to the alleged scheme was a motorway allegedly to be built in the Karelia region of Russia.
Finland’s central criminal police started investigating the case in July 2014, when its anti-money laundering unit was notified of suspicious transactions on multiple occasions.
The defendants include two Estonians, aged 70 and 44. A third defendant is a Russian entrepreneur aged 44. All three have denied guilt.
According to the Estonian defendants, the money was meant for the construction of a motorway in the Karelia region of Russia.
The so-called Aaninen road was supposed to run from the Parikkala area on the Finnish-Russian border to at least the Russian city of Petrozavodsk. In 2013, when news about the road construction project was published by Finnsh media, including public broadcaster Yle and business newspaper Talouselama, the managing director of a Russian company named Severno-Zapadnyi Koridor Razvitiya said that a Finnish company should become the party preparing the design of the road or the contractor in the project.
The source cited as the managing director in these reports is the 44-year-old Russian national who now stands trial in the case alongside the two Estonians.
Read more by the Baltic News Service via ERR News
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