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Court lifts travel ban on ex-police drug chief Aarnio

The Helsinki District Court has lifted a travel ban it imposed on former Helsinki police ant-drug squad chief Jari Aarnio. The decision means that Aarnio, who faces a litany of charges related to drug trafficking and corruption, can travel without restraint.

Jari Aarnio näppäilee puhelintaan.
Former Helsinki police drug squad chief Jari Aarnio. Image: Milla Vahtila / Yle

The final week of hearings in the drug trafficking and official misconduct case against former Helsinki police cop Jari Aarnio began with the dismissal of a travel placed on the suspect more than two years ago.

The Helsinki District Court deemed that the ban was no longer warranted, and prosecutors did not oppose the decision.

A surprise witness in the case Monday proved to be an Estonian man known as Veikko, who testified via video link. However another witness, a woman from Malmi in northeastern Helsinki said to be one of Aarnio’s accomplices, did not show up in court. She was said to be abroad.

Prosecutors instead reviewed documentary evidence and remote surveillance data.

Lengthy closing statements expected from prosecutors

The trial will continue Tuesday with a final statement from prosecutors. State Prosecutor Mikko Mannikö estimated that the volume of material to be covered in the closing could push the sitting into the evening.

Mannikö said that because of the lengthy duration of the trial, prosecutors will likely have to recap information from the early stages of the case. The main task of presenting the closing arguments will fall to district prosecutor Pihla Keto-Huovinen.

Aarnio has consistently denied all of the charges brought against him. The court is expected to give its verdict during the autumn.

Hearing of an appeal involving Aarnio’s conflict of interest dealings with the surveillance company Trevoc will begin in the Helsinki Appeal Court in May and continue until June. Last June the lower court sentenced Aarnio to a prison sentence of one year and eight months over the matter.

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