The National Bureau of Investigation’s (KRP) headquarters in Vantaa on 27 March 2019. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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A NUMBER of Finns are suspected of impairment of the environment in three partly overlapping cases linked to companies engaged in illicit waste trafficking between Finland and Estonia, reports the National Bureau of Investigation (KRP).

All of the suspicions arose following criminal complaints submitted by Finnish Environment Institute (Syke).

KRP on Monday revealed that one of the cases began to unfold following the detection of discrepancies in the cargo manifests of one company.

The investigators suspect that the company has transferred roughly 1,700 tonnes of light-fraction waste instead of construction and demolition waste from Finland to Estonia. Light-fraction waste is classified as hazardous waste due to its high content of certain metals and requires a separate permit to be moved outside Finland.

The suspects are also believed to have transported about 860 tonnes of oil waste to Estonia between May 2018 and November 2019.

“The waste trafficking under investigation are connected to Finnish and foreign individuals and companies. Six individuals are suspected of offences in the pre-trial investigation and seven companies are directly linked to the cases,” reads a press release from KRP.

Another Finnish waste operator is suspected of transporting 2,600 tonnes of waste oil – another type of hazardous waste – without the necessary permits in 2018. The third branch of the investigation, meanwhile, is linked to an internal inspection conducted by a Finnish company, which indicated that the company had taken delivery of waste oil from Estonia in 2020.

The individuals linked to the illicit waste trafficking are suspected of at least aggravated impairment of the environment.

KRP on Monday highlighted that globally revenues from waste trafficking are estimated to be as high as those from drug trafficking.

“In light of the detected cases of illicit waste trafficking, it is possible to conclude that Finland is part of a criminal phenomenon found in Central Europe,” stated Riku Lindqvist, a detective chief inspector at KRP.

Lindqvist told Helsingin Sanomat that the case is the largest of its kind in Finland. “The scope of the case is something we haven’t seen before.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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