On Wednesday afternoon, law enforcement officers carried out a task on the SE Finland island that Russian oligarch Igor Kesaev owns in southeast Finland. Situated on a lake near Puumala, this island, called Kotasaari, is roughly 120 kilometers from the border crossing point at Parikkala.
Yle received confirmation from Aki Virtanen, head of the National Enforcement Authority’s special enforcement section, that Kotasaari had been searched.
“During the on-site search, bailiffs looked for assets to be seized and frozen, as well as investigative material. The Authority asked the Eastern Finland Police Department for official help to support this task,” Virtanen said.
Virtanen declined to provide further details, such as whether the operation was related to any sanctions aimed at Russia.
Previously, in response to a request from the National Enforcement Authority, the Eastern Finland Police Department confirmed to the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat that its officers took part in an operation on the island. The National Enforcement Authority is in charge of issuing any formal announcements about the case.
Due to Kesaev’s involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the arms manufacturer was placed under EU sanctions in April 2022. Reuters claims that he had the biggest tobacco distribution network in Russia in addition to having a major interest in a factory that produced weaponry for the Russian military. Moreover, he may have connections to the Russian security service, the Federal Security Service (FSB).
The millionaire bought Kotasaari, which lies near the Saimaa canal, in 2020.
The Puumala municipality granted a special permit for the construction of a 150-square-meter staff cottage, a 530-square-meter guest house, and a 420-square-meter personal residence on the island. Since the heliport was not specified in the zoning plan, the municipality was taken aback to learn that it existed on the island.
The National Enforcement Authority confiscated three Russian aircraft a year ago.
Kesaev, the owner of a Russian weapons manufacturing factory, was one of at least twelve Russian oligarchs who acquired “golden passports” from Cyprus, a member of the European Union, and are currently subject to sanctions, according to information released by the American broadcaster CBS in September. Foreign investors who made more than two million euros in Cyprus between 2013 and 2020 were granted citizenship and EU benefits.
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