HELSINKI, JAN 23– The Finnish border authority and criminal police are investigating alleged fraud in issuing visas at the Finnish Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Finnish media reported on Tuesday.
As Finland is part of the Schengen area, a visa issued by Finland authorizes travel throughout western Europe excluding Britain. Three employees of the embassy are suspected of “aggravated arrangement of entry illegally” and two of them also of “aggravated misuse of a civil servant role”.
Senior lieutenant Antti Leskela from the Boarder Guards told Finnish commercial television MTV news on Tuesday that the investigation deals with “hundreds of visas issued over a longer period.” He did not specify the nationalities of the recipients.
Investigators declined to say whether the suspects are Finnish nationals or foreigners, but said they were “local recruits” of the embassy and were not dispatched diplomats. One of them was arrested while visiting Finland.
The Eastern Uusimaa district court on Monday confirmed the confiscation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the whole visa archive of the Ankara embassy. 2,800 kilos of documents have been brought to Finland. Investigation will be completed in the spring, MTV news reported.
Pasi Tuominen, head of consular services, told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday that internal conclusions will be drawn after the completion of the investigation. – XINHUA