Expressen reporter ?posed as policeman?

A reporter from Swedish tabloid Expressen is being prosecuted for posing as a policeman.

The journalist allegedly pretended that he was a member of the Swedish police force when he called Interpol to find information about the kidnapping of Siba boss Fabian Bengtsson.

Prosecutors say that the reporter also called a salvage firm and the London office of the Nordic Police and Customs Initiative (PTN). According to Frank A Sandsund at PTN’s office, the journalist identified himself as a “colleague”.

“I initially found him to be credible, but became suspicious when he did not want to send me a written request for information,” Sandsund told Aftonbladet.

Expressen is standing by its reporter, who denies that he lied to get people to talk.

“To pose as a member of the police force is completely against Expressen’s policy and way of working. The reporter is perfectly aware of this. He has given a credible account of events,” said the paper’s editor, Otto Sjöberg.

The newspaper’s lawyer, Peter Danowsky, put the differing stories down to misunderstandings, and said that he believed that the prosecution would fail.

“It’s word against word. There was plenty of room for misunderstanding,” he said, explaining that the potential for misinterpretation was increased because many of the conversations took place in English rather than Swedish.

Danowsky told Expressen that “as far as I know” no tapes of the conversations exist. The paper reported that defence witnesses would include journalists who were sitting in the same room as the reporter and who heard how he expressed himself.