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Three found guilty of kidnapping Siba heir

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16:43 CEST+02:00
Three men found guilty of involvement in the kidnapping of electronics retail millionaire Fabian Bengtsson have been sentenced by a Gothenburg court to between two and ten years in prison.

Bengtsson, 32, was abducted on January 17th in Gothenburg on his way to work at Siba, a family-owned nationwide home electronics retail chain of which he is managing director and which he will one day inherit.

He was not released until February 3rd, when he was found in a Gothenburg city park. Police have said that while a ransom was demanded for his release, no money was ever paid out.

Darko Sokacic, a 43-year-old Croatian, who was found to have masterminded the plot, was sentenced to ten years in jail for kidnapping and attempted serious blackmail.

Italian Lirim Seferi got six years for kidnapping, but was cleared of the blackmail charge.

A third man, Alexander Markovic, was found guilty of being an accomplice to blackmail, and was sentenced to two years in prison. He was found to have sent the text message threats to chop off Bengtsson's fingers.

Sokacic and Seferi were ordered to pay Fabian Bengtsson 450,000 kronor in damages and 150,000 kronor to his father, Bengt Bengtsson. Markovic must pay 50,000 kronor to Bengt Bengtsson.

Darko Sokacic and Lirim Seferi will both be deported when they have served their sentences. According to Expressen, this is what has disappointed Sokacic most, "which isn't surprising, since he's here illegally", noted the paper.

Sokacic's lawyer, Claes Östlund, told Expressen's sister paper, GT, that he had expected seven years.

"It's a harsh sentence. We're leaning heavily towards an appeal, he has nothing to lose. But it's also about the pressure you experience during a trial," he said.

While Sokacic admitted to his involvement in the kidnapping, Seferi denied the charges.

The Italian's defence lawyer, Leif Silbersky - currently also representing the man at the centre of the government funding application scam - argued in his summing up that his client had been fooled into kidnapping Fabian Bengtsson.

The prosecutors declared themselves satisfied that Sokacic and Seferi were found guilty of kidnapping.

"It's also good that the judges did not fall for the story Seferi came up with afterwards and which Leif Silbersky put before the court - that he was forced to take part," said Peter Larsson and Håkan Larsson.

They have not ruled out the possibility of appealing for a longer sentence for Alexander Markovic.

Siba, founded in 1961 by Folke Bengtsson, Fabian's grandfather, has annual sales of 3.5 billion kronor. Fabian Bengtsson's personal fortune has been estimated at between six and 16 million kronor.

The Local/AFP

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