Sweden charges man with spying for Russia

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish prosecutors on Monday charged a 47-year-old man with spying for Russia by handing over information for several years to a Russian diplomat in return for money.

“This shows the value the Russians place on the information provided,” Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said, adding that the man had just received 27,800 kronor ($3,355) when he was arrested in February 2019 as he met with a Russian intelligence officer working at Russia’s Embassy in Stockholm under diplomatic cover. The suspect was not identified.

Swedish broadcaster SVT said the man was a Swedish national and had worked for Swedish industrial groups Volvo Cars in Goteborg, Sweden’s second city, and truck-maker Scania, southwest of Stockholm.

“This case concerns a crime that places Sweden’s security at risk,” the prosecution said in a statement.

The prosecution alleged that the man illegally transferred material from his work computer to his private computer and thereafter to USB memory sticks. To hide his activities from being logged by the IT system, he also photographed material from the screen of his work computer, it said.

Ljungqvist said the suspect could expect “a lengthy sentence” if convicted. In Sweden, the maximum penalty is for espionage is six years.

In a separate statement, the head of Sweden’s domestic security agency’s counter-espionage unit, Daniel Stenling, said “attacks on Sweden from other countries have been broadened and deepened in recent years.

“They are aimed not least at our economic prosperity and our fundamental freedoms and rights. In the last year alone the (service) has investigated both assassination attempts and illegal intelligence activities, and also espionage,” he said.

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