Russian scientist charged with spying

A 29-year old Russian researcher was formally charged with spying on Friday by a court in Stockholm. The man is suspected of spying on behalf of another country, damaging Sweden's national security.

After a one hour hearing behind closed doors in the Stockholm district court, the man was remanded in custody. It is claimed that the alleged spying took place between January 2005 and this month. The Swedish security service say they have been watching the man for some time. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Wednesday, and he was arrested later the same day.

“He is suspected of handing over information that is harmful to national security or the defence of the country if it becomes known to a foreign power,” chief prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand said.

Lindstrand would not say which country had received the intelligence, but he confirmed that the man was a Russian citizen. Lindstrand refused to discuss the extent of the damage caused by the spying, but said he assumed that the suspected crime would have an effect on Sweden’s relations with the affected country.

The man has been a guest researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala for several years. For the past couple of years he has been researching plants and certain plant viruses, said professor Christer Jansson.

The researcher has been monitored constantly by security service Säpo over the past two months.

Jansson said he found it difficult to imagine any military application of the research carried out by the suspect.

The university hosts researchers from a large number of countries. The spying is alleged to have taken place in Stockholm and Uppsala.

A source in the Swedish government offices told TT that while the alleged spying had implications for national defence, this did not necessarily mean that it involved the Swedish military.

TT/The Local