Criminal investigation into a major terrorist case closed by Southwestern Finland Police

Publication date 30.6.2023 9.00
News item

The Southwestern Finland Police have completed investigation into a criminal case involving a series of terrorist offences. The criminal investigation report will be submitted to the prosecutor for consideration of charges in the coming days.

The criminal investigation concerned a major case of multiple terrorist offences allegedly committed by a group of five men living in the Kankaanpää region. According to the police, the suspects had set up a group motivated by a radical far-right ideology. 

Based on the criminal investigation conducted, a group of five suspects being inspired by radical right-wing extremist ideas, stole or otherwise acquired and handled with terrorist intent firearms, dynamite and fertiliser containing ammonium nitrate.

One new criminal offence 

According to the police, the men trained in the use of weapons and substances by practising shooting, making explosives from the fertiliser and experimenting with the explosives, for example.

– In the course of the investigation, the preparation of an offence was further specified to the suspected offence of receiving training for the commission of a terrorist offence, says Detective Superintendent Toni Sjöblom, who led the criminal investigation.

The terrorist offences involved are:

  • Aggravated firearms offence committed with terrorist intent
  • Intentional explosives offence committed with terrorist intent
  • Receiving training for commission of a terrorist offence
  • Aggravated theft committed with terrorist intent (two separate criminal suspicions)

Based on the criminal investigation, the police suspect that the men had, among other things, an intent to attack the Niinisalo reception centre with explosives as part of their training. 

The various phases of the incidents are suspected to have started in early 2016, and they can be considered to have continued until the end of 2019. Three of the men are suspected of involvement in all the criminal offences; one is suspected of all but one theft; and one is suspected only of having received training for commission of a terrorist offence.

Violent acts also investigated

In the context of the criminal investigation, the police also investigated violent acts committed against a sexual minority. The police suspect that the acts were ideologically-based and therefore, motivated by hate.

– Furthermore, violence and extortion are suspected to have been involved in the practice of mutual discipline among the group. In respect to those violent acts, the criminal investigation report will also be referred to the prosecution, says Detective Superintendent Sjöblom.

The Southwestern Finland Police acknowledges the cooperation with the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, National Bureau of Investigation, Helsinki Police and Europol at various stages of the investigation into terrorist offences.

– This criminal case is an example both of the Finnish Police's competence to investigate even exceptional cases and of the excellent cooperation between law enforcement authorities at national and international level, explains Detective Superintendent Sjöblom. 

”Society must be alert”

According to Detective Superintendent Sjöblom, the unusual nature of the criminal case posed challenges to the investigating team in several areas.

– In particular, understanding of the global spread of extreme far-right radicalism has changed the worldview of those most closely involved in the criminal investigation. Society must be alert to various extremist ideologies. We need to consider how we can prevent the threats they pose. And, where necessary, bring criminals to justice, summarises Detective Superintendent Sjöblom.

News Offences and criminal investigation Satakunta Southwestern Finland Police Department