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Ex-drug cop Aarnio charged with homicide

The case relates to the 2003 contract killing of a Swedish-Turkish national.

Entinen huumepoliisin päällikkö Jari Aarnio Helsingin käräjäoikeudessa 02.10.2018
Former head of the Helsinki Police narcotics unit, Jari Aarnio, is currently serving a 13 year prison sentence. Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

Former Helsinki narcotics chief Jari Aarnio is facing a homicide charge for his alleged involvement in the contract killing of Volka Ünsal in Vuosaari, Helsinki on 16 October 2003, according to a statement by Deputy Prosecutor General Jukka Rappe.

Authorities suspect that Aarnio received advance information about the planned killing, but did not act to prevent it. Aarnio was the head of the Helsinki Police Department’s Narcotics Unit at the time of the killing and, under Finnish law, can be convicted to a life sentence if he's found guilty of failing to prevent the offence from taking place.

In addition to Aarnio, former gang leader Keijo Vilhunen will also face a homicide charge.

New information comes to light

Four people -- three Finns and the Swedish man who ordered the hit -- have already been sentenced to life imprisonment for their part in the killing. The Deputy Prosecutor General is working with new information received since those convictions and now has reason to believe that more people were involved in the murder.

Ünsal had stolen money from a crime associate after a robbery at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport and subsequently entered a witness protection programme, which he later abandoned.

Aarnio was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a slew of offences related to drug trafficking and official misconduct, and his conviction was upheld on appeal in June last year.

Both Aarnio and Vilhunen have denied having any role in the killing.

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