Life imprisonment for gross espionage

Published 19 January 2023

Two men were convicted of gross espionage in the Stockholm City Court on Thursday, 19 January 2023. One of the men was sentenced to life imprisonment and the other was sentenced to nine years and ten months’ imprisonment. One of these men was also convicted of unauthorised handling of secret information. The Swedish Security Service ran the investigation into this matter.

In its judgment, the Stockholm City Court wrote, among other things, that the crime is to be regarded as gross. The information was obtained, transmitted, and divulged for the purpose of benefiting Russia and the Russian intelligence service GRU. The judgment states that the criminal activity had been going on for ten years and that the information was obtained when one on the men was employed by the Swedish Security Service in 2014–2015 and by the Swedish Armed Forces in 2011–2014.

“This is a matter of exceptionally serious crime and an employee who grossly abused the trust placed in him. This is something that must not happen, but that we, as a Security Service, knows can happen. Security and intelligence services are a prioritised target for certain foreign powers. It was the Swedish Security Service that became suspicious about the former employee and this has enabled us to long take measures to cope with the harm done,” said the Head of the Swedish Security Service Charlotte von Essen.

The intelligence threat posed by certain foreign powers is high. Russia is one of the countries that pose the greatest security threat to Sweden. Russia carries out attacks and activities on a daily basis for the purpose of stealing information that could be used to strengthen its own interests. For example, Russia engages in cyber espionage, gathers intelligence via human sources, and carries out other security-threatening activities.

The criminal investigation, headed by a prosecutor at the National Security Unit of the Swedish Prosecution Authority, has been run by the Security Service.


 19 January 2023

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