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CRIME

Police identify key names behind Swedish organised crime

Swedish police have pinpointed 100 'particularly interesting' people in the fight against organised crime.

A number of authorities are working with the police to identify these key players in Sweden’s crime networks. As well as the prosecution office, the Tax Board, Customs and the Economic Crimes Bureau have contributed to the intelligence gathering, according to Göteborgs-Posten.

The police have set aside up to 120 million kronor for coordinating national operations against organised crime and several suspects have already been arrested as part of an increased effort.

Suspects have been seized across the whole of Sweden but most are from Stockholm, Skåne and Västra Götaland.

All of those on the list are thought to have played crucial roles in crimes which will earn them a minimum of two years in prison.

Around half of them are linked to established motorcycle gangs and the rest are part of other known groups.

“These are serious criminals,” said the temporary head of the National Criminal Investigation Department, Peter Tjäder.

The list of criminals has already changed as a result of arrests and police hope that the number of people on it will decline as organised crime declines.

Tjäder said that the networks were large, and that every person on the list has 20-30 criminal contacts.

The general director of Sweden’s Customs, Karin Starrin, said that the various agencies have been coordinating their work for some years.

“There’s no major investment or project just now – it’s rather a focus of our whole operation planning,” she said.

“The cooperation with the other organisations is about building up analysis and intelligence – anything to be able to strike at these well-planned groups with arrests and seizures.”

According to Starrin it is hard to say precisely how many people Customs is monitoring.

“But during 2005 we managed to get between 15 and 20 gangs who were supplying drugs to Sweden,” she said.

Starrin said that the networks had their roots in the Baltic, eastern Europe, South America, Asia and other parts of the world.

There are no official statistics available for 2006.

“But we have been at least as successful,” said Starrin.

POLITICS

Sweden extradites suspected PKK terror group member to Turkey

Sweden has extradited a convicted member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to Turkey as Ankara presses Stockholm for further steps in return for its membership in NATO, state media reported on Saturday.

Sweden extradites suspected PKK terror group member to Turkey

Mahmut Tat, who was sentenced to six years and 10 months in jail for PKK membership in Turkey, fled to Sweden in 2015 but his asylum request was rejected.

Tat arrived in Istanbul on Friday night having been detained by Swedish police, the Anadolu news agency reported.

He was taken by Turkish police soon after arriving at Istanbul airport and referred to court on Saturday, the private NTV broadcaster reported.

Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden in particular of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems “terrorists”, and held back on ratifying their NATO bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.

NATO ambitions

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and sought to join NATO in May, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The decision requires a consensus within the US-led defence alliance, but only Turkey and Hungary are yet to ratify their membership.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held trilateral talks with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts on the margins of a NATO meeting in Bucharest this week.

“The statements (coming out of Sweden) are good, the determination is good but we need to see concrete steps,” Cavusoglu said.

Ankara has said it expects Stockholm to take action on issues including the extradition of criminals and freezing of terror assets.

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