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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 March 2021

Swedish man charged with espionage over alleged sale of information to Russian diplomat

Former worker at Volvo and Scania accused of selling company secrets

The man is due to appear at court in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.
The man is due to appear at court in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

A man suspected of selling secret information to a Russian diplomat was on Monday charged with espionage by Swedish authorities.

The man, 47, is accused of meeting the Russian diplomat over a number of years and providing information for money.

It is understood the man, from Gothenburg, had worked as a researcher at Chalmers University of Technology and was a consultant at vehicle manufacturers Volvo and Scania.

He was arrested two years ago at a restaurant in Stockholm where he was dining with a Russian intelligence officer specialising in industrial espionage, Sweden's GT newspaper said.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority claims he was given cash in return for sensitive documents.

"As a consultant at his former workplaces, I allege that he has obtained material with the purpose of providing information to a foreign power, in this case Russia," prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said.

"He has been well-paid for this information and this shows the value the Russians place on the information provided. The man was apprehended whilst meeting a Russian diplomat where he had just received 27,800 Swedish crowns ($3,363) from the diplomat."

It is alleged the man transferred material illegally from his work computer to his private computer and to USB memory sticks. It is also claimed he photographed material from the screen of his work computer to hide his activities being logged by the IT system.

"In the prosecutor’s view, this case concerns a crime that places Sweden’s security at risk," Mr Ljungqvist said.

”The investigators have put in a lot of time in order to understand the material so as to assess it from the perspective of Sweden’s security.

"It is important to emphasise that Sweden is the injured party in this case and not the companies. This is because the suspect originally had authorisation from his employers to access the material in his position. To disseminate such company secrets which a person has access to in their position is not a crime in itself. It can, however, be espionage."

Sweden’s maximum punishment for espionage is six years in jail.

”My view is that the crime is serious and, if convicted, the suspect could expect a lengthy sentence,” Mr Ljungqvist said.

The case will be heard in due course at Gothenburg District Court.

Updated: February 22, 2021 04:39 PM

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