With the help of two Blackhawk helicopters, Säpo and the National Task Force attacked the villa in the Stockholm area on Tuesday morning.
A married couple in their 60s, with roots in Russia, were arrested. The man is suspected of having conducted gross illegal intelligence activities for ten years and the woman of aiding and abetting. Both deny wrongdoing.
Among other things, the crime must have taken place through “meetings with business contacts” via the companies that the man and woman were involved in during their time in Sweden.
Traveled often to Russia
One of the companies, which was liquidated in 2020, dealt in transistors and other technical equipment, according to information to SVT. The business must have been going on for a long time and the man must have made repeated trips to Russia.
In 2012, ownership in the company changed when all shares were sold to a company based in Cyprus. According to official documents, the Cypriot company was controlled by a 75-year-old Russian citizen. A man who states in social media that he has a military background, which Aftonbladet was first with reporting on. He is also listed on a site for former military cadets in Russia.
SVT’s review also shows that in the 1980s the Russian man was singled out as an officer in the Soviet intelligence service GRU, according to information published, among other things, by American authorities. In connection with that, he was also expelled as a diplomat from a European country.
It is unclear whether the Russian ex-military’s role in the Swedish company is connected to Säpo’s crackdown on the now suspected couple.
Under review by FOI
The Total Defense Research Institute, FOI, has also taken a closer look at the company as part of its review of Russian investments and financial interests.
– We thought it was interesting because it was a company that deals in sensitive technology. We looked at whether there could be any transfer of the technology, says Oscar Almén, project manager and researcher at FOI.
As early as 2016, the couple came into focus for the Swedish Tax Agency when the authority suspected that their company was involved in VAT fraud. It was about deals made with a European technology company that also has close links to a company that was singled out in the so-called mobile clutter with suspected VAT fraud in the billions.
The couple’s business has largely been about trade with Russia. In another of the companies’ annual reports, it is written that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the extensive sanctions against Russia “implies considerable uncertainty for future operations”.
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