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No proof of CIA planes in Sweden - report

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19:13 CET+01:00
There is no proof that planes used by the US CIA spy agency have landed at Swedish airports since 2002, a government-ordered report concluded on Thursday amid media speculation to the contrary.

Sweden's Civil Aviation Administration and the Civil Aviation Authority said in their joint report submitted to the government that they had studied 19,000 take-offs and landings in Sweden, including 50 which were examined closely.

"Based on the information provided, conclusions cannot be drawn that the flights would have been carried out on behalf of the US intelligence agency CIA," it said.

However, in an interview with Swedish news agency TT, the chief legal counsel for the Civil Aviation Authority Lena Bystroem Möller said that the notion of CIA landings in Sweden could not be ruled out either.

"All we can say is that based on the material we have, there is nothing to indicate that," she said.

Swedish media have speculated that three planes possibly used by the CIA for covert prisoner transports have landed in the country. The report confirmed the three landings, but said there was no evidence the planes were used by the intelligence agency.

One of the aircraft was a Gulfstream III with the registration number N50BH that landed at the Arlanda and Örebro airports near Stockholm between June 21st and 23rd, 2002, before flying on to Iceland.

The plane's operator, Richmor Aviation, has told Swedish media that the flight had been "private".

Another plane, a Raytheon Hawker owned by Wells Fargo Bank with the registration number N168BF, also landed at an airport in the southern city of Malmö on September 9 this year.

The third plane was a Hercules transport plane with the registration number N8213G that was photographed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport in May 2003.

The two aviation authorities had sought out information from several Swedish agencies for their report, but received a reply only from the Swedish intelligence agency Säpo.

The two authorities said they would revise their report if new information came up.

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AFP

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