Russian with Maltese citizenship in €10m money laundering probe has Tigné residence

Russian businessman Pavel Melnikov, a Maltese citizen, is at the centre of a Finnish money laundering probe after buying land and property in the Turku region

One of the Turku premises raided by the Finnish NBI
One of the Turku premises raided by the Finnish NBI

A Russian national with Maltese citizenship has been identified as the subject of a Finnish criminal investigation on money laundering.

The businessman, Pavel Eduardovic Melnikov, was said to be a resident of Hungary, but has a residence in Malta at Fort Cambridge, Tigné.

He has been reportedly buying up islands and land from around the Turku archipelago, a strategic military point in southwest Finland close to Russia, through the Finnish company Ariston Helmi.

A massive police investigation was underway this week as dozens of strategic developments constructed by the company Ariston Helmi - helipads, quays and bridges and connecting roads - were built over a period of seven years at a cost of €9.2 million.

Now finnish national police are suspecting a “colossal operation” of money laundering, which has led to the arrest of two individuals and seven other questioned, as well as the seizure of military vessels procured by the Finnish company.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) carried out an extensive search of many business premises linked to the company suspected of running a money laundering operation dealing in millions of euros, and utilizing illegal labour. The NBI said it has been carrying out a preliminary investigation into the case for months with the assistance of the Tax Administration. "Preliminary investigation of the case has led to suspicions of aggravated money laundering and aggravated tax fraud, among other things. Ownership of the limited company in question has been traced to another EU country, and people from several countries have been questioned," said NBI inspector Markku Ranta-aho.

The NBI has enlisted the help of the Finnish Border Guard and the Southwest Finland Police Department in the massive search operation, which has included over 100 officers.

Ranta-aho says a ban on air traffic in the region is in effect for the duration of the search operation, and maritime traffic near the areas under investigation may be limited.