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Police: Biker gangs infiltrating business world

More and more Finnish businesses have criminal groups lurking in the background. According to Finland’s crime busters the National Bureau of Investigation, a rise in the number of motorcycle gangs has seen a corresponding increase in their presence in labour-intensive enterprises, and even beyond.

Bandidos-jengin jäseniä.
Bandidos is one of Finland's best-known motorcycle gangs. Police say organised crime groups have grown explosively. Image: Marius Becker / EPA

The National Bureau of Investigation says that more than 100 biker gangs have links to different business operations and they also run intermediary groups. The crime busters point out that it’s difficult for ordinary people to know when they are hiring a company that has links to organised criminals.

According to a report conducted by the NBI a few years ago, there are some 130 motorcycle gang members who are involved in labour-intensive businesses.

More often than not, these businesses operate in the construction sector, as well as the restaurant and cleaning fields, said the NBI’s Detective Inspector Tapio Kalliokoski. He added that in these cases the recruitment and labour practices fall on the shadowy side of the law.

“Those involved in the (shady) business operations included chief executives, board members, accountants and procurement officers. So they were not deputies,” Kalliokoski explained.

In the course of their investigations, police have noticed that a group of influencers may also be involved in the operations. They may include job site checkers, jobholders and pay officers, and they are recorded as different individuals in the companies’ register.

Some of the money earned from these black market operations are redirected to the criminal groups by way of tax and accounting fraud. It is also used to finance other criminal activities including drug trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking and illegal bars.

Frequently businesses fronting organised crime have some legal operations that pay taxes and other legal obligations.

“Some of their activities are legal and tax declarations are duly made. Some salaries are paid out and some it left for obscure activities,” the detective said.

Explosive rise in gangs

Kalliokoski enumerated Finland’s four well-known criminal groups: Hell’s Angels, Bandidos, Cannonball and the United Brotherhood.

By 2000, the criminal underground fielded eight groups. Since then, the number of gangs has continued to multiply; currently police estimate that there are as many as 60 gangs operating in Finland.

“The changes have occurred in those hard-core groups that are involved in serious crime and are behind the biggest criminal jobs,” he declared.

Kalliokoski hinted that in light of these developments, it might well be time consider whether customers have an obligation to look into their service providers’ backgrounds.

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