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Salary dispute at centre of Sipoo-Helsinki murder-suicide, police say

Investigators believe that a pay dispute prompted a man to murder his boss before later killing himself during a Helsinki police raid.

Epäillyn asunnolta takavarikoitu pienoispistooli.
A police raid of the suicide victim’s Helsinki home yielded a small-bore pistol that corresponded to the weapon used to kill the Ilmarinen supervisor at his home in Sipoo. Image: Itä-Uudenmaan poliisilaitos

Investigators said Friday that a man whom police who committed suicide during a raid in Helsinki last August had also installed two tracking devices on his workmate’s car. Police are investigating the case, in which the suicide victim was also a suspect in the murder of his former boss in Sipoo.

The suicide victim, a portfolio manager with the pensions insurance firm Ilmarinen, was suspected of shooting his former boss at his Sipoo home last July. The murder suspect took his own life as police raided his apartment to take him into custody on suspicion of murder. He shot at police through the door before shooting and killing himself.

A preliminary inquiry has now revealed that the murder suspect had used magnets to attach two tracking devices to a car used by a colleague. Police investigated the case as plotting aggravated offences against a person’s life or health.

He had also monitored his supervisor’s movements with tracking devices. Police found that based on location data stored in the device, it had been attached to the man’s car for more than a month before the murder was committed.

However the tracking device had been de-activated immediately after the crime. At the same time, technical investigations revealed that the man had been using his phone to communicate with the devices from as early as March 2017, leading police to conclude that he had been planning to commit the act for a long time.

Three years on the same team

Police discovered that the murder suspect and the person he had been tracking had been in the same team for three years at Ilmarinen. The Ilmarinen employee told investigators that there had been no major differences or bad blood between the suspect and his supervisor prior to the shooting. However he added that he had the impression that the portfolio manager didn’t like him.

The murder suspect had left his job at Ilmarinen at the beginning at 2016 and the workmate told police that he hadn’t seen him since then, nor was he able to say why the suspect had fitted his car with a tracking device. Police also asked the Ilmarinen employee about the suspect’s behaviour and the reasons for his dismissal, however he said that the man’s supervisor had a mentoring approach to others in the workplace.

"He also collected tax data from others and used it in his salary negotiations. He must have thought that he was not appreciated so he left for greener pastures, but perhaps he was not successful after all," the employee added.

According to information gathered by police, the suspect was not able to settle into a permanent job after leaving his position at Ilmarinen.

The suspect’s colleague said he’d noticed that the man became agitated when other workmates laughed at news reports that the founder of the anti-immigrant website MV-lehti has been convicted for a number of offences, including slander.

"It seemed quite odd because in our field we always look for objective information from different sources and reading that publication seemed far from it," the employee noted.

He said that it was very difficult to understand why the suspect would have wanted to kill anyone.

Emails reveal beef with supervisor

Police ended the investigation into the murder after the suspect committed suicide. They said they could find no other motive for the murder than the suspect’s dissatisfaction with his boss. The murder suspect and his victim had had no dealings after he left the firm and there was no evidence of contact between them. However sources in the suspect’s circles and emails he sent hinted at his resentment.

In an email sent in 2016, the man described his discontentment with his salary. He had raised the issue with his boss, the man he later murdered at the victim’s Sipoo home.

"I argued with my supervisor that my pay is the same as it was four years ago when I was the most junior member of the team, now I am the most senior, at least in terms of experience and my time in the team," he wrote at the time.

The suspect also wrote that – according to his interpretation – his supervisor had promised him a raise, however he never got one. According the email the suspect’s supervisor had also declared that the man’s current salary was in line with his responsibilities, tasks and goals and that his starting pay may have been too high.

"It felt like something that you would never believe, that my boss could say... this makes me feel that the situation has become unbearable," the suspect wrote.

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