Officials of the Central Criminal Police arrested Tiiu Järviste and two employees of GFC Good Finance Company AS; a business owned by Järviste, on Monday as suspects in money laundering.
Järviste, 56, is also suspected of the attempted embezzlement of nearly €8 million.
Järviste, Andrii Danchak, 36, and a third suspect identified only as Aleksei, 40, were arrested as suspects in money laundering on Monday.
The two male suspects were taken into custody by Harju County Court on Tuesday.
Based on evidence gathered thus far in the criminal investigation, there are grounds to believe that transactions involving suspected money laundering were concealed at GFC in 2018, as a result of which almost €3 million of money earned through criminal activity have moved via the payment institution.
State Prosecutor Marek Vahing said that in the framework of the criminal investigation, they ended up reviewing 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The FSA has stripped GFC of its license and the company is no longer active in its field.
"Together with partner institutions, we have directed our attention toward potential professional money launderers active in Estonia," Vahing said. "As a result of this cooperation, we are following up on suspicions of the criminal offense of money laundering that have arisen with regard to employees of GFC Good Finance Company AS that was previously active as a payment institution in Estonia. In addition to establishing the truth, the purpose of this criminal investigation is to prevent and combat the use of the Estonian financial system and economic space for money laundering and thereby increase the credibility and transparency of the economic environment."
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 investigation 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 an international dimension in their early stages already and swiftly put an end to their commission," Laur said.
The investigation is being conducted by the Central Criminal Police under the direction of the Office of the Prosecutor General.
Editor: Aili Vahtla