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Suspects in Airiston Helmi case request release from pre-trial detention

The two men said they should be freed until their trial begins, but police said they've uncovered "new and interesting material" which prevents their release.

Airiston Helmi -juttuun liittyvä vangitsemisoikeudenkäynti Vantaan käräjäoikeudessa 2.10.2018. Jutun pakkokeinotuomari istui etäyhteyden päässä Varsinais-Suomen käräjäoikeuden tiloissa Turussa. Kuvassa rikoksista epäilty venäläismies ja tämän asianajaja Tuomas Sunnari.
File photo from the 2 October remand hearing at Vantaa District Court. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Two suspects in a suspected international money laundering scheme associated with the Turku real estate firm Airiston Helmi have requested that the Southwest Finland District Court revokes their pre-trial detention and releases them pending the trial.

"The court will consider the Russian man's request on Tuesday, and the Estonian man's request on Wednesday," the National Bureau of Investigation's criminal police commissioner Antti Perälä told Yle.

Finnish police said they do not support the release of the suspects, on the grounds that were presented at the hearing to renew the remand order of the suspects on 2 October.

"The police are presenting the argument for a continued remand on the grounds that it is highly probable that this is a case of aggravated tax fraud," Perälä said.

Investigation still in early stages

As the branch of the Finnish police dealing with organised crime, the NBI is sitting on a huge amount of data and other material that it seized in a large-scale search of several Airiston Helmi business premises in the southwest Turku area in late September.

Perälä says the police must still comb through terabytes of seized data, so in this respect, the investigation is still in its early days. Important information has already been gleaned from the catch, however.

"We have found new and interesting material, but I am not at liberty to describe it in more detail or tell what it pertains to at this point," he said.

The NBI police commissioner said that the investigation is still approaching the case as a financial crime.

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