TALLINN - Officials of Estonia's Central Criminal Police on Monday detained Tiiu Jarviste and two employees of GFC Good Finance Company AS, a business belonging to Jarviste, as suspects in money laundering.
Jarviste, 56, has also been declared suspect in attempted embezzlement.
Jarviste, Andrii Danchak, 36, and a third suspect identified by his first name and age as Aleksei, 40, were detained as suspects in money laundering on Monday.
The two male suspects were placed under arrest by Harju County Court on Tuesday.
Based on the evidence gathered in the criminal proceeding to date, there are grounds to believe that transactions involving suspected money laundering have been concealed at GFC in 2018, as a result of which almost three million euros of money earned through criminal activity has moved via the payment institution.
In addition, Jarviste has been declared suspect in an attempt to embezzle almost eight million euros.
Public Prosecutor Marek Vahing said that in the framework of the criminal investigation, they came to checking the activities of GFC as a result of cooperation between the prosecutor's office, the Central Criminal Police, the Internal Security Service and the Financial Supervision Authority (FSA). The FSA has stripped GFC of its license and the company is no longer active in said field.
"Together with partner institutions, we have directed our attention towards potential professional money launderers active in Estonia. As a result of this cooperation, we are checking on suspicions of the criminal offense of money laundering that have arisen with regard to employees of GFC Good Finance Company AS that used to be active as a payment institution in Estonia. In addition to establishing the truth, the purpose of this criminal proceeding is to prevent and combat the use of the Estonian financial system and economic space for money laundering and thereby to increase the credibility and transparency of the economic environment," Vahing said.
Leho Laur, head of the Economic Crimes Bureau of the Central Criminal Police, said that as professional money launderers are a difficult challenge for the police, different capabilities are needed in the criminal proceeding to combat such criminal activity.
"The work of the group for the investigation of economic crimes that was established at the Economic Crimes Bureau last year is a good example of officials familiar with the field of finance and specializing in white-collar crime being able to detect complex criminal offenses of international dimension already in their early stages and promptly put an end to their commission," Laur said.
The investigation is conducted by the Central Criminal Police and directed by the Office of the Prosecutor General.