Russian gets damages over Swedish spy probe

Sweden has decided to pay 80,000 kronor in damages to a Russian researcher accused of spying on Sweden who spent two months in custody before being freed, legal sources said Monday.

The 30-year-old biology researcher had been invited to work at the university of agricultural science at Uppsala. He was arrested on February 15, suspected of spying and illegal intelligence activities.

He was held until April 7 when he was released due to a lack of evidence.

“He will receive compensation… of 80,000 kronor and 5,144 kronor to cover his court costs,” an official at the Swedish Chancellor of Justice told AFP.

The researcher, who specialises in botany and plant viruses, had requested 500,000 kronor in compensation and 12,863 kronor for his legal fees.

Swedish prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand had accused the researcher of collecting “a major amount” of information about the university’s research programme and its staff from 2004 to this year.

He initially said that the activities had hurt Sweden’s “overall defence” but did not specify which country had benefitted from the information. However, he eventually concluded that the information was not damaging to national security and the researcher was freed.

The affair caused a brief diplomatic spat between Russia and Sweden, with each country expelling a diplomat from the other country.