Criminal gang United Brotherhood (UB) and its Bad Union affiliate say they are closing down their operations, according to the daily Helsingin Sanomat and Finnish commercial broadcaster MTV.
In a statement on Monday, the organisation announced its "joint and unanimous" decision to close up shop. Ville Jaatinen, a leader and founding member of the group, confirmed the news to both media outlets.
The criminal network says its local associations will give up their premises and gang insignia. It has been active at least in the southern Finnish cities of Helsinki, Lahti, Jyväskylä, Turku and Tampere.
Unprecedented legal case
In September, prosecutors and the National Police Board filed a joint case with Eastern Uusimaa District Court, seeking to have UB shut down and slapped with an immediate ban on all activities. The complaint said this was necessary because of the criminal group's paramilitary structure and heavy armament.
The case – the first of its kind in Finland – is to be heard on Wednesday at the District Court in Porvoo, east of Helsinki. It is unclear how the gang's statement will affect the trial.
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Police have been targetting UB in a major operation since last year, including a string of detentions and home searches around the country last autumn. In various preliminary investigations, UB members are suspected of an array of crimes including aggravated drug offences, violent crimes and wrongdoing.
The National Bureau of Investigation calculates that UB and Bad Union members have been suspected of more than 1,300 crimes over the past decade. Most have involving drugs, weapons and/or violence, including an alleged string of attacks on prison staff.
United Brotherhood was established in 2010 through the alliance of three gangs, known as Rogues Gallery, Natural Born Killers and M.O.R.E.