Major anti-money-laundering operation in Finland
In the course of a money-laundering investigation the Finnish police have searched several properties belonging to a company based in southern Finland. The company owns numerous plots of land on the skerries off the coast of Turku which are strategically positioned and could potentially be acquired by Russians. The press sees the operation as a national security matter.
Zero tolerance for criminal dealings
The Finnish state is taking resolute action against criminal activities controlled from abroad, Turun Sanomat concludes:
“In Finland there has already been a discussion about limiting land and real estate sales to non-EU foreigners, especially when the latter are located close to strategically significant areas. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä announced on the radio on Sunday that the Defence Ministry is drawing up a draft law on land ownership by foreigners. It will be presented to the parliament in autumn. This operation of an unusually large scale for Finland sends an important message: money-laundering and tax fraud will not be tolerated.”
Finland shows strength
With this operation the authorities have proven that they are keeping an eye on suspicious activities, Ilta-Sanomat stresses:
“This is not really just about financial investigations; the investigations are also driven by concerns about Finland's security, national defence and the potential role of the Russian state. It is not yet clear whether the suspected money-laundering is part of a larger European investigation. Recently, for example, the suspicions about money-laundering at Danske Bank's Estonian branch, which has ties to Vladimir Putin's inner circle, were made public. ... The message is that the Finnish authorities are alert and ready to take action if necessary. This message is also getting through in Russia.”