Finland blocks three Russian property acquisitions

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Finland’s ministry of defence said on Wednesday it had blocked three real estate transactions, one of which involved a partly Russian-owned company, saying allowing the acquisitions could hamper the defence of Finnish territory.

The ministry in October blocked three planned property transactions involving Russian buyers, citing similar reasons.

The decisions concerned one property in Ilomantsi in southeastern Finland and two in Sotkamo, in central Finland, the ministry said in a statement.

The propspective buyer of the property in Ilomantsi was a partly Russian-owned company. The parcel of real estate in Sotkamo had been sold twice between companies held by a different owner, the ministry said.

It was not immediately clear if the Sotkamo property deals were linked to Russia. The Finnish defence ministry was not immediately available for additional comment.

Finland moved to limit Russian citizens’ property acquisitions near strategically important locations with legislative changes that took effect from the beginning of 2023, in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Finnish authorities have the right to review transactions made by companies from outside the European Union and European Economic Area.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen, editing by Terje Solsvik and Barbara Lewis)