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"Toy smuggler's" sentence sharpened by appeal court

Rami Adham's jail term was more than doubled to 22 months after the court ruled the money laundering crimes were aggravated.

Rami Adham.
File photo of Rami Adham. Image: Yle

The Helsinki Court of Appeal extended the prison sentence of Rami Adham who became known as the "toy smuggler," more than doubling it to one year and 10 months, finding him guilty of aggravated money laundering.

Adham was originally sentenced to 10 months by the city's district court in November 2018 after being found guilty of a slew of charges.

However, both the defendant and the prosecutor filed to appeal the decision. Initially, the prosecutor sought an 18-month sentence in the case.

During 2014-2016 Adham served as chair of the Finnish-Syrian Association, which raised funds for people in war-ravaged Syria.

Initially, the Finnish-Syrian became an international media darling over efforts to bring relief to people displaced by the conflict in Syria, earning the "toy smuggler" moniker for including toys among the items he took to the internally-displaced.

The original district court ruling found that Adham did not have a permit to collect some 150,000 euros for the Finnish-Syrian Association and even after receiving a permit, went on to illegally gather another 160,000-plus euros.

Handing down its decision on Friday, the appeal court upheld the original ruling and - taking the side of the prosecution - found that Adham's actions met the criteria for aggravated money laundering, whereas the lower court did not find the crimes were aggravated.

The appeal court said the charges were aggravated because Adham had used the illegally-raised funds towards an allotment garden cottage and deposited some of the donations to a Turkish bank account.

Otherwise, the Court of Appeal did not variate from the district court's verdict. The original verdict and sentencing were related to a money laundering offense, an accounting offense, a registration offense and several forgeries.

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