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Prosecutor calls for prison sentences in million-euro Turku parking fee theft case

Ten accused appeared in Southwest Finland District Court to answer charges of aggravated embezzlement of an estimated 1.6 million euros.

Turun kaupungin pysäköintimittareihin kohdistuvaa kavallusepäilyä koskeva oikeudenkäynti alkoi Varsinais-Suomen käräjäoikeudessa 4.9.2018.
A total of 10 defendants appeared in court on Tuesday. The three main defendants face prison sentences. Image: Yrjö Hjelt / Yle

The prosecutor in a case involving ten individuals accused of pilfering up to 1.6 million euros from Turku city’s parking meters is calling for prison sentences for all of the defendants.

In a hearing that began on Tuesday, the prosecution argued that two men responsible for collecting cash from the city’s parking machines should be convicted on charges of aggravated embezzlement for stealing the funds.

It added that the men had managed to swindle the city of an estimated 1.6 million euros between 1995 and 2017. However police have managed to recover some of the stolen coins.

Story continues after photo.

Police managed to recover some of the stolen money. If the money stolen over the decades consisted only of one-euro coins, they would have weighed in at about 12,000 kg, or the equivalent of more than nine Volkswagen Golf cars, according to Yle News' calculations. Image: Poliisi

The prosecutor also said that given the large sum of money involved, the men should be convicted for aggravated offences and called on the court to sentence the men to three-and-a-half-year prison terms.

The prosecution told the court that the scammers did not snatch all of the money they collected, but left some of it to be counted and credited to the city’s accounts as usual. Meanwhile, they used the cash that they had withheld for their own purposes.

Three main accused admit to charges

The duo admitted to having plundered the city’s parking fees over a long period of time. However they argued that the estimated amount stolen had been exaggerated.

The court also heard that a third man had been involved during the early stages of the racket but he left his job with the city in 2004. However, he continued to play a role in the criminal enterprise by receiving some of the stolen cash.

He now faces charges of aggravated theft and concealment; the embezzlement charge against him has exceeded the statue of limitations. He has also admitted to committing an offence and the prosecutor has asked the court to sentence him to one year in prison.

Another seven people are suspected of having accepted, used, transferred or held stolen coins in their possession. They have been charged with aggravated money laundering or concealment. The prosecutor is calling for custodial sentences for some of them and suspended sentences or community service for others.

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