A MARBELLA-based Finnish expat has confessed to a string of drug-related charges in his home country.
Niko Ranta-aho took the surprising step to plead guilty before leading prosecutors to drug stash in the forest, with 64kg of narcotics – including amphetamines and MDMA – seized by police.
According to national newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Ranta-aho told a Helsinki court that he would tell police everything, from start to finish.
Hannu Kaitaluoma, who defends Ranta-aho, said before the confession that this was a very recent decision.
“On Monday, Ranta-aho came to the conclusion that he wanted to tell all,” he said.
The entrepreneur once owned the popular Teatro in Puerto Banus in Marbella, a restaurant-cum-performance venue which welcomed such stars as Tyga and Ja Rule.
He also ran a property development company and was often seen with bikini-fitness girlfriend Sofia Belorf, with whom he lived in a mansion in the exclusive Guadalmina Baja neighbourhood – home to the likes of former prime minister Jose Aznar.
That all came to an abrupt halt last July when he was arrested in Helsinki, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering in what has become the country’s biggest scandal in recent memory.
Earlier this year he was formally charged alongside 53 others – including girlfriend Belorf.
The group are accused of smuggling a wide range of substances into Finland, including more than 200 kilos of amphetamines, 60 kilos of hash, 15 kilos of cocaine, more than 30 kilos of MDMA, over 100,000 ecstasy tablets, 20,000 LSD tabs, two kilos of crystal meth and around two million pharmaceutical pills.
After fervently denying the charges, Ranta-aho made a U-turn this week after being caught allegedly smuggling notes out of prison.
Police found two handwritten sheets in the possession of Ranta-aho’s sister, and believe the defendants were sending messages to each other illicitly.
An investigation has been launched to probe what would be a criminal offence.
It is suspected that a woman who was Ranta-aho’s second legal assistant also carried messages from Ranta-aho.
“No way, no, no,” the assistant told Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday.
Ranta-aho is now facing a maximum prison sentence of 13 years.