Finnish police take AML gambling investigation to prosecution stage

Finnish police take AML gambling investigation to prosecution stage

Finland’s Central Criminal Police have been conducting an extensive investigation into money laundering relating to a potential illegal gambling operation in the country.

A preliminary investigation launched in 2022 estimated that between 2016 and 2022 several million euros were transacted via the illicit operation, which involved at least three individuals.

All three are suspected of ‘aggravated money laundering’, with one suspect in particular alleged to have been receiving and transmitting funds from illegal gambling activities. The other two suspects handled operations and money traffic and procured players and brokers bets, respectively.

“This is a quite exceptional criminal investigation in Finland,” said Criminal District Commissioner, Janne Takkunen, who is heading the investigation. 

“The topic has been less prominent in the public eye, but this kind of suspected illegal gambling has been a phenomenon in Finland for a long time. 

“In this case, the suspect had kept in touch with his clientele on Facebook, among other things, where he had also published related messages and information about prized game round.”

The preliminary investigation found that two non-Finnish individuals had been selling and distributing lottery tickets illegally, against the terms of the country’s Lotteries Act.

Proceeds from this operation were subsequently laundered by the aforementioned third member. The authority’s most recent update, posted this month, revealed that the case has been in the prosecution phase since October.

The case comes against the backdrop of regulatory reform in Finland which will see the monopoly over online sports betting phased over the next few years via legislative changes.

However, Veikkaus will retain its monopoly over land-based gaming and the Finnish lottery, the latter being the area in which the three suspects allegedly committed their gambling and laundering offences.