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Corrupt cop Aarnio could face prosecution over gangland hit

Ex-narcotics cop Jari Aarnio could be prosecuted for a 2003 murder.

Helsingin huumepoliisin ex-päällikkö Jari Aarnio poliisijohdon virkarikosjutun käsittelyssä Helsingin käräjäoikeudessa 27. maaliskuuta 2019.
Helsingin huumepoliisin ex-päällikkö Jari Aarnio poliisijohdon virkarikosjutun käsittelyssä Helsingin käräjäoikeudessa keskiviikkona 27. maaliskuuta. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

Jari Aarnio, the former head of Helsinki police department’s narcotics department, could be prosecuted over a 2003 murder because investigators believe he knew in advance it was going to happen--but he didn’t stop it.

An investigation into the hit has concluded, and the file will now pass to the prosecutor’s office. Aarnio is suspected of knowing the killing was about to happen but not doing anything to prevent it.

If a police officer knows a murder is about to occur and does nothing to stop it, he can be convicted of murder and given a life sentence in prison.

He is suspected alongside Keijo Vilhunen, a former organised crime boss who has previously been convicted with Aarnio on drug charges. That conviction is being appealed.

Vilhunen is not suspected of direct involvement in the killing, and neither are two former Aarnio subordinates who are suspected of official misconduct.

Four convictions already

Four people have already been convicted for the killing of Volkan Ünsal, a Swedish citizen, in the Vuosaari district of eastern Helsinki in 2003. He had stolen money from an accomplice in a robbery at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, went into a witness protection programme and then left it.

Three Finns were convicted of the killing, along with the Swedish man who ordered the hit.

STT reports that investigators found a notebook in Sweden, according to which Aarnio had warned his Swedish colleagues about the plan before Ünsal arrived in Finland and was killed in October 2003.

Peculiar original investigation

The original investigation into the killing was marked by several peculiarities. For one thing, police collected evidence and searched an apartment before any kind of note of suspicions a crime had been committed was made in the police system.

In addition, police sent a crime scene investigation team to the flat the day before anyone had reported Ünsal missing.

Aarnio has been convicted of aggravated drug and official misconduct offences, which are currently being appealed. He was also convicted of offences related to police procurement of surveillance devices, and his appeal against that conviction was rejected.

Aarnio also faces prosecution over failures in the management of confidential informants, a case in which current and former senior police officers are also under suspicion.

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