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Court rejects Airiston Helmi’s request for return of seized €3.5m in cash

Apart from the return of two rings, the court largely rejected a request to give back the company's seized property.

Airiston Helmi -yrityksen omistama Säkkiluoto kuvattuna ilmasta.
One of Airiston Helmi's properties in the Turku Archipelago, off the southwestern coast of Finland. Image: Yle

The District Court of Southwest Finland mostly rejected a request made by real estate firm Airiston Helmi for the return of seized property, including 3.5 million euros in cash.

However the court did permit the return of two rings taken during the raids which were carried out at the firm's properties in the Turku Archipelago off the southwestern coast earlier this autumn.

Airiston Helmi has been the focus of a major money laundering and tax evasion investigation since September, when 17 of its properties were raided by hundreds of authorities.

Authorities are continuing their investigation of the Russian businessman behind the Turku-based firm, who is suspected of aggravated money laundering, aggravated fraud and aggravated tax evasion.

The company is also suspected of paying construction workers it hired under the table. Two suspects who worked the firm are still being held in remand custody. As of last week authorities said they have not been able to contact the company's Russian owner, however.

About a week ago filed a motion to the court claiming that police used excessive measures in carrying out the raid, questioning the legality of the seizure of property, including some 3.5 million euros in cash. The court is expected to make a ruling on the claim in December.

The businessman claimed the probe, which included temporarily shutting down the airspace in the region during the late September operation, was disproportionate for a white-collar crime investigation.

Yle News reported in October that some international experts think the Airiston Helmi probe uncovered an operation with financial - and possibly military - goals in mind.

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