Artist Jani Leinonen and his partners in "crime" stole a statue depicting the fast food chain icon Ronald McDonald from a McD's in Helsinki last February. The prosecutor is charging Leinonen and his two accomplices with fraud and counterfeiting.
Before the heist, Leinonen had forged a document which enabled him to grab the statue from the premises on maintenance reasons. This was the fraud part of the alleged crime.
Shortly after the kidnapping, Leinonen posted a video on the Internet, mirroring a known terrorist style of broadcasting about their victims on tape, and threatened to execute McDonald under the guise of FLA (Food Liberation Army) if their answers about the unethical factors in the chain's food processes and the origin of their food weren't answered soon enough.
About a week later, their demands hadn't been met and so, the statue was executed by decapitating a plaster replica of the icon with a guillotine.
The brains behind the operation, artist Jani Leinonen.
The artist behind the kidnapping saw his "art installation" as a success as it created a buzz about the ethics of food on food blogs around the world and even garnered some attention in US media. "In Finland, the media mostly focused on the hubbub around this thing, they didn't know quite how to react. Once it was labelled as art, the whole thing blew over quickly. It was basically more like activism than art", Leinonen said.
The three are now facing charges that probably lead to large fines, but the District Court judge warned them that the charges could hold enough ground for suspended prison sentences. "I'm pretty surprised how serious they are about someone taking a plastic statue. I'm hoping that all charges will be dropped."