Belfast Telegraph

Putin in criminal blacklist error

Finnish police say Russian president Vladimir Putin's name was mistakenly placed on a secret criminal register that could theoretically have gotten him arrested at the border.

TV station MTV3 reported that Mr Putin was placed there for his contact with Russian motorcycle gang Night Wolves, though he was not suspected of a crime in Finland.

But National Police Board spokesman Robin Lardot said the listing was a mistake and that Mr Putin's name was removed from the list.

"The National Police Board has investigated the case and indeed found that such a mistaken entry was in the register," Mr Lardot said.

"We have ordered it to be removed and are investigating the case very thoroughly. We don't know how it got there."

The president's inclusion would be a major source of embarrassment in bilateral relations. Finnish Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen, whose ministry oversees the police, conveyed her "sincerest apologies" to Mr Putin over the mistaken entry.

"The Interior Ministry considers it of grave concern if a member of the police has made such groundless entries into the database of suspects."

MTV3 said the content of the register is known only to a few top officials. But in a statement, police called it a "computerised personal data file intended for nationwide used by the police".

They said it includes information on people who are suspected of offences punishable by prison "or having contributed to an offence subject to imprisonment of more than six months, or to an unlawful use of narcotics".

The Night Wolves says on its website that the club's prototype was born in the 1980s from the desire to protect musicians who were holding illegal concerts during the Soviet era. The muscle-flexing Russian leader has not been averse to being associated with tough bikers and has described motorcycles as "the most dramatic form of transport".


From Belfast Telegraph