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Swedish court acquitted businessman accused of spying for Moscow

A Russian-origin Swedish businessman was acquitted on Thursday of gathering information for Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency for almost a decade, the Associated Press reported.

60-year-old Sergei Skvortsov was charged with “gross illegal intelligence activities against Sweden and against a foreign power (USA).”

The Stockholm District Court stated that the defendant had largely acted as prosecutors claimed and that advanced technology had been purchased and delivered to Russia. However, the court ruled that the business involved the purchase of Western technology and not the gathering of information about Sweden or the US, which could be classified as espionage.

Police arrested him and his wife in November during an operation in Nacka outside Stockholm. State media reported that elite police descended from two Black Hawk helicopters to arrest the couple.

Prosecutors alleged that Skvortsov had obtained information via two companies about goods that Russia could not purchase otherwise due to export regulations and sanctions. He then allegedly helped to purchase and ship items by providing false or misleading information to suppliers and acting under false names.

However, Judge Jakob Hedenmo stated that the prosecutor failed to prove Skvortsov’s involvement in espionage.

Skvortsov denied any wrongdoing. His wife was released without charge following an investigation by the Swedish Security Service.

On October 9, the Stockholm District Court announced that Skvortsov had been released pending sentencing of his case, stating that “there is no longer reason to keep the defendant in custody.”


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