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Fourth human trafficking suspect in theatre predator case

Theatre luminary Veijo Baltzar is suspected of aggravated rape and aggravated human trafficking.

Kulttuurineuvos Veijo Baltzar
Veijo Baltzar. Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

Helsinki police say they have identified a fourth suspect in their investigation of a human trafficking and sexual offences case involving well-known theatre influencer Veijo Baltzar.

In a statement issued on Monday, police said that the new suspect is believed to have committed human trafficking. Only one of the four people suspected in the cases has been remanded into pre-trial custody.

The main suspect in the group of alleged offences is cultural luminary Veijo Baltzar. He is suspected of committing several counts of aggravated rape and aggravated human trafficking between 2016 and 2019. The allegations were first reported in November last year.

The sexual offences allegedly took place in Helsinki, Kuopio, Rautalampi in northern Savo and Tammisaari, which lies in Raseborg (Raasepori in Finnish) in southwest Finland. Baltzar is also suspected of child sexual abuse, sexual abuse and assault.

Police said that they would not comment further on the investigation at this stage and indicated that the deadline for pressing charges is 18 November.

HS: Baltzar manipulated young women

Last November, daily Helsingin Sanomat reported that 77-year-old Baltzar had manipulated, controlled and preyed on girls and young women in his theatre company.

The paper interviewed 18 women and girls who said they had personal experience working with the globally-renowned figure. Many said they felt that in rehearsals they had to please Baltzar if they wanted to gain his approval or land an important role.

The interviewees said that Baltzar lured young women to stay at his home. He was said to have been living in Tammisaari and Rautalampi at the time. HS also reported that he insisted that the girls break with their families and boyfriends.

Baltzar has denied the allegations of aggravated human trafficking. He was remanded into custody last November. At the time, police suspected two other individuals of aggravated human trafficking.

Charges were initially to be laid against him in February, but the deadline was first extended until June and later until November as new developments emerged in the case.

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