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Money Laundering On the Rise in Finland

Organised criminals have recruited people from Finland to participate in money laundering operations. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) says that the police hears about one such case per week.

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The NBI dealt with 159 cases of money laundering between 2007 and 2010. The cases involved money acquired illegally abroad passing through Finnish bank accounts. The number of cases is steadily increasing.

Recruitment of the Finnish ‘mules’ often occurs via email. The message offers a job whereby they have to allow their account to be used to transfer funds. Payment is a proportion of the funds transferred. The role of the ‘mule’ is to conceal the origin of the funds and to make the cash look legitimate.

The amounts transferred have typically been between 3,000 and 15,000 euros. During 2010, Finnish-based agents transferred nearly 600,000 euros altogether. In around half the cases, the authorities were able to prevent the onward transfer of the funds.

The funds have often been obtained by acquiring the username and password to an unsuspecting victim’s account. The money is then transferred to a ‘mule’s’ account in another country, and the mule is given instructions on how to forward the money on.

From Finland the money is most commonly forwarded on to Ukraine or Russia.

Operating as a ‘mule’ is punishable, and the police investigate when they are notified of a suspected case. Offences committed by ‘mules’ could include money laundering or aggravated money laundering.

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