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Swedish tech consultant jailed for spying for Russia

Swedish tech consultant jailed for spying for Russia

Another spy scandal shook Sweden after a tech consultant has been handed a three-year jail sentence for selling information about truckmaker Scania to Russia, The Local Sweden reports.

For Sweden, it was the first espionage trial in 18 years, prosecutors said the 47-year-old man’s actions could have compromised Sweden’s national 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.

The arrest in February 2019 took place at a restaurant in central Stockholm where a Russian diplomat suspected of being an intelligence officer handed a certain amount to the Swedish tech consultant. The Russian was briefly detained but released because of his diplomatic immunity.

Spy scandal in Sweden

As prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in February, at the moment of his arrest, the consultant had just received 27,800 kronor (EUR2,700) for passing information to the Russian diplomat. Moreover, he had been “fully aware that the information he had delivered would benefit Russia”, according to the statement.

The information concerned “manufacturing, such as source codes and construction of products in the automotive sector”, an investigation showed. 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 person working in the Russian embassy in Stockholm.

The arrested 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”.

Sweden’s intelligence agency said in its 2020 report that both Russia and China posed the biggest intelligence threat to the Scandinavian country.