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CRIME

Swedish tech consultant jailed for spying for Russia

A Swedish tech consultant has been handed a three-year jail sentence for selling information about truckmaker Scania to Russia.

Swedish tech consultant jailed for spying for Russia
The man was found guilty of selling sensitive information about truckmaker Scania to Russia. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Prosecutors said the 47-year-old man’s actions could have compromised Sweden’s national security.

It was the first espionage trial in the country in 18 years, according to broadcaster SVT.

The man was arrested in February 2019 while dining at a restaurant in central Stockholm with a Russian diplomat suspected of being an intelligence officer.

The diplomat was briefly detained but released because of his diplomatic immunity.

At the time of his arrest, the consultant had just received 27,800 kronor ($3,200, 2,700 euros) for passing information to Moscow, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in February.

The court found him guilty of espionage, saying he had copied “secret information” from Scania, which he had transferred to USB-drives and handed to a Russian embassy worker.

In a statement, it added that he had been “fully aware that the information he had delivered would benefit Russia”.

The information concerned “manufacturing, such as source codes and construction of products in the automotive sector”, court documents showed.

The man was also found to have delivered information from carmaker Volvo but he was cleared of spying charges in this particular case because the information could not be proved to have “hurt Sweden’s security”.

Much of the trial was held behind closed doors because it dealt with issues including “Sweden’s relation to foreign powers, defence abilities,  intelligence work” and corporate secrets, the court said.

In its latest annual report published in 2020, Sweden’s intelligence agency said Russia, along with China, posed the biggest intelligence threat to the Scandinavian country.

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CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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