Finnish police can’t find suspected bitcoin blackmailer they just released

Finnish police are once again hunting a suspected hacker accused of blackmailing 30,000 psychotherapy patients for more than $500,000 in bitcoin after he gave them the slip when he was released from pre-trial detention.

Finnish national Aleksanteri Tomminpoika Kivimäki pleaded not guilty to hacking into the database of the Vastaamo psychotherapy center in 2018. Kivimäki allegedly told the center to pay 40 bitcoin, worth around $518,000 at the time of the breach, before sharing private documents in 2020.

According to the terms of Kivimäki’s release, he was banned from leaving the Espoo area and was ordered to remain at a certain address between seven in the evening and eight in the morning each day. He was also supposed to report to the police three times a week and be contactable on a certain phone number at all times.

However, since prosecutors filed a complaint last week, police have been unable to locate Kivimäki.

Read more: What is an Interpol red notice and how does it work?

Authorities adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach

Despite apparently being on the run and refusing to respond to calls from the police, Kivimäki made contact with Finnish news outlet Helsingin Sanomat on Monday morning. Communicating via Signal, he reportedly said, “I am not missing,” and “I have not run away and I will definitely be seen in court.” 

Kivimäki’s lawyer Peter Jaari added, “I don’t know where he is. I urged him to report, but his message was that I would see him at the district court next week at the latest and I trust that he will show up there if the police don’t reach him sooner.”

Prosecutors are reportedly taking a ‘wait-and-see approach,’ and are holding back on issuing an Interpol notice. Prosecutor Pasi Vainio said, “We’ll see. Clearly he is aware that he should contact the authorities, but whether he will is a question mark.” 

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