Sweden drops Russian spy probe

An investigation into allegations of espionage against a Russian guest researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has been abandoned, according to prosecutors.

There was insufficient evidence to support the spying allegations, chief prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand told TT. But he said his investigation had shown that the researcher had “obtained and passed on a significant amount of information about SLU’s research, as well as personal information about certain researchers who work or have worked at SLU, to a representative of the Russian Embassy.”

The information was passed on at secret meetings and the man was paid for his services, the prosecutor said.

However, the type of information passed on did not compromise Sweden’s national security, and could not be classed as commercial secrets, according to Linstrand.

The man was set free immediately following the prosecutor’s decision on Friday morning. His lawyer, Ola Salomonsson, said his client was “happy and relieved” by the decision to drop the investigation. He added that it was unclear whether he would return to SLU.

“He needs to come down to earth after this news, and think over the situation.”

Salomonsson added that the man may lodge a claim for damages.

“I think I can say that with certainty. He should be entitled to some kind of bandage for his wound.”

The 29-year old researcher was arrested on February 15th, and was ordered detained by a Stockholm court. He has remained in custody since then.

The spying investigation has been the subject of enormous interest in Russia, with a number of Russian television teams covering the man’s bail hearing. The Russian foreign ministry last month summoned Sweden’s ambassador in Moscow to demand the scientist’s immediate release.

TT/The Local