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Two suspects detained in large-scale police operation near Turku

Finland's National Bureau of Investigation says a foreign-owned firm in the southwest is suspected of using grey market labour and laundering millions of euros.

Police vehicles in the southwest municipality of Pargas (Parainen) on Saturday. Image: Kirsi Kanerva / Lehtikuva

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the arm of the Finnish police charged with investigating organised crime, reported on Saturday that it had detained two people in association with an extensive search of many business premises in Southwest Finland.

The search is linked to a criminal investigation of a foreign-owned company with many locations in the area. The firm is suspected of running a money laundering operation dealing in millions of euros, and utilizing illegal labour. NBI reports that it has been carrying out a preliminary investigation into the case for months with the assistance of the Tax Administration.

The bureau says that the searches of business premises in the region of Southwest Finland and the Turku archipelago will continue through the weekend.

On Saturday, the NBI reported that it had carried out searches of dozens of business premises and interrogated seven people, two of whom were apprehended.

"Preliminary investigation of the case has led to suspicions of aggravated money laundering and aggravated tax fraud, among other things. Ownership of the limited company in question has been traced to another EU country, and people from several countries have been questioned," says NBI inspector Markku Ranta-aho.

The company under investigation is registered in Finland, but is foreign-owned. The police will not reveal any names.

"I can't tell you the name of the company or the suspects in the case. There are several," Ranta-aho said.

The NBI has enlisted the help of the Finnish Border Guard and the Southwest Finland Police Department in the massive search operation, which has included over 100 officers.

Ranta-aho says a ban on air traffic in the region is in effect for the duration of the search operation, and maritime traffic near the areas under investigation may be limited.