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Large police operation in Finnish archipelago targets resort company

Staff Writer |
The vast archipelago off the Finnish southwestern city of Turku became on Saturday the scene of a major investigation into economic criminality.

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A force of over one hundred police and coast guard personnel landed on several large island properties. The police presence will continue on Sunday, the police said.

The police refused to name the company, but confirmed large operation and apologized to local inhabitants for the inconvenience caused. The police established road blocks manned with machine guns.

Senior police inspector Markku Ranta-aho told local media that the "a Finnish company under foreign ownership" was suspected of aggravated money laundering and tax evasion.

Local media could easily identify the likely company as police operations could be observed.

There had been earlier media attention on the company. It has purchased real estate and carried out major construction projects, but its properties have been mainly idle and unoccupied.

It has built also large pier facilities. A permit has been given by Finnish authorities for an international helicopter landing pad for flights to and from Russia.

Finnish authorities on Saturday ordered a 20 times 30 kilometers wide no-fly-zone in the outer archipelago to avoid filming from the air.

Finnish media has reported earlier that many of the islands purchased are close to Finnish defense installations and border on key sea lanes.

Military sources told the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, under the condition of anonymity, that the purchases near strategic locations were a major concern.

The police said late Saturday two persons had been arrested and seven questioned. The police did not give the nationalities, but said there were also foreigners involved.


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