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CRIME

Sweden arrests two women linked to Islamic State

Two women linked to the Islamic State group were arrested by Swedish police after they flew back from Syria.

Sweden arrests two women linked to Islamic State
Three women and their six children landed at Arlanda Airport in Sweden on Monday after they were deported from Syria. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Stockholm police spokesman Ola Österling said the prosecutor leading the investigation into the two women had ordered their arrest.

“We executed that decision when the plane arrived in Stockholm in the afternoon,” Österling told AFP. A third woman had been taken in for questioning, he added.

A statement from the Prosecution Authority Monday said multiple investigations were under way against men and women returning from areas that had been controlled by the Islamic State group (Isis or IS).

“The international crimes that are relevant for people for people returning from Isis-controlled areas are war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity,” public prosecutor Reena Devgun said in the statement.

“Sweden has an international committment to investigate and prosecute these crimes,” she added.

The Prosecution Authority added that it could not comment on individual cases or the number of investigations under way.

But public broadcaster SVT reported that at least one of the women arrested was being investigated for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

SVT also reported that the women who had returned Monday had been staying in camps in northern Syria but had been deported by Kurdish authorities after deciding they did not have enough evidence to prosecute them.

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CRIME

Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

Birgitte Bonnesen, a former CEO of Swedish bank Swedbank, has been acquitted of charges of fraud and sharing insider information.

Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

The ruling from the Stockholm District Court comes four years after the eruption of a money laundering scandal implicating the bank.

In 2019, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT alleged that at least 40 billion kronor (equivalent at the time to $4.4 billion) of suspicious and high-risk transactions had been channelled to Baltic countries, notably Estonia, from Swedbank accounts.

The revelations, which saw the bank’s share price crumble, rendered Bonnesen’s position untenable and she was fired.

Sweden’s financial regulator the following year fined the bank some 360 million euros and warned it to follow anti-money laundering laws.

Prosecutors later charged Bonnesen, accusing her of “intentionally or by aggravated negligence” providing false or misleading information about the steps the bank had taken to prevent and detect suspected money laundering.

Bonnesen, who risked two years in prison, denied all of the charges against her.

The court said that while some of the statements the former CEO made to media outlets had been “unclear and incomplete”, they did not amount to fraud.

“For criminal liability, it is not enough for someone to make a false statement or omit key information,” judge Malou Lindblom said, adding that any statement needed to be sufficient to influence recipients “in a certain direction”.

Bonnesen was also cleared of charges of revealing insider information by informing the bank’s main owners that the investigative documentary was coming.

The court said the former CEO had only revealed what she believed the documentary would cover, which was deemed too “imprecise” to be considered insider information.

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