Sekrit Island Bases

by wjw on September 27, 2018

Friend of the blog Marcus sent this article about Russian real estate agents who purchase islands in strategic shipping lanes and then turned them into Bond-villain lairs.

Airiston Helmi Oy was founded in 2007 as a non-public stock company for trading in real estate, and a number of the key persons behind the company were Russian nationals. The company has had just a handful of employees, and has consistently been showing figures in the red (as far as I know, it has never managed a single positive year). What has set the company aside from other failing attempts is however that a number of the real estate deals have taken place at strategic locations in the archipelago outside of Turku in southwestern Finland.

Airiston Helmi may have gone overboard, however, when they purchased two surplus Finnish naval vessels.  It’s the sort of thing that attracts attention.

. . . the Russian cleptocracy makes the dividing lines between crooks, spies, and businessmen somewhat blurred, and even if Airiston Helmi would prove to be a non-political criminal enterprise . . . it isn’t beyond the realms of imagination for the GRU to call in a favour every now and then.

All of which led to a 100-strong raid by several Finnish agencies, with backup from the military.

Maybe it’s a spy operation, maybe it’s some weird deep-laid plan for invasion.

On the other hand, it could be some well-connected Russians talking the GRU into building them some lovely vacation homes out on the water.

Etaoin Shrdlu September 28, 2018 at 12:08 am

Aristoi Helmi? Oy! Proof that you’ve been a Russian agent for 25+ years now!!?!?!?

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