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Airiston Helmi starts liquidation after banks shun shadowy firm

Last year police confiscated 3.5 million euros of the company's cash in a sting prompted by money laundering suspicions.

Airiston Helmen Villa Ybbersnäs nähtynä vastarannalta Paraisilla 23. syyskuuta.
A view of a Airiston Helmi property in Pargas, Finland in September 2018. Image: Ari Welling / Yle

The real estate firm Airiston Helmi is liquidating its properties in Finland and the company's millionaire Russian owner Pavel Melnikov is also planning to offload assets he owns, the firm's lawyer Kari Uoti told STT news agency.

Uoti reports that the company owns about a dozen properties in Finland, valued between hundreds of thousands and a million euros. He says advertisements will be released shortly. He says the decision to sell the assets originated with Melnikov.

The company is at the centre of a joint investigation, as it is believed to have laundered millions of euros and used off-the-books labour to build several properties in the southwest Finland archipelago. The National Board of Investigation and the police conducted a sweeping search of 20 locations owned by Airiston Helmi in September 2018.

345,000-euro loss in 2018

The financial weekly Talouselämä reported on Wednesday that Airiston Helmi had filed for liquidation, a development that was revealed in the company's latest financial statements submitted to the Trade Register. Airiston Helmi reported a loss of approximately 345,000 euros last year.

Uoti told Talouselämä that it had become impossible for the company to run its business, as its previous bank had closed its accounts while other institutions refused to do business with the firm.

Airiston Helmi's manager Dan Högström told public broadcaster Yle last November that the company was looking to rent out its vacation spots in the archipelago off Turku to tourists in the spring.

Yle reported in January that authorities will likely hold on to the close to 3.5 million euros that the police seized in concert with last autumn's raid until next year, as the investigation of the case is expected to take a long time.

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