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Jens of Sweden faces smuggling charges

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13:48 CET+01:00
Swedish MP3 mogul Jens Nylander could face up to six years in prison after prosecutors said they planned to pursue him on smuggling charges. But Nylander told The Local that he has paid his debt and is not afraid of what lies ahead.

The Swedish Customs Service reported Nylander to police when it suspected that he had defaulted on paying customs and taxes amounting to over 300,000 kronor.

"That is viewed as a breach of smuggling laws," prosecutor Anne-Christine Maderud told news site realtid.se on Friday.

But Jens Nylander, founder of MP3 company Jens of Sweden, told The Local that the problem was caused by an unintentional clerical error.

"This goes back to December two years ago. At that point we were importing 300 to 400 shipments of mp3 players per year.

"The problem stemmed from two shipments of mp3 players and FM receivers. Two of the boxes were mistakenly classified as mp3 players, without mentioning the FM receivers.

"That meant that we paid 320,000 kronor too little in customs and VAT," said Nylander.

Customs authority notified Jens of Sweden that they had underpaid as a result of filling in forms incorrectly.

"We changed the papers and paid everything we owed. But the Customs Service filed a criminal report," said Nylander.

The investigation ended six months ago and Nylander, convinced of his innocence, thought the charges would be dropped. For six months he has tried to contact the prosecutor to find out if he can put the issue behind him.

"It has been six months of silence. My attorney and I have tried many times to get in touch with her but nothing has happened," he said.

On Friday morning the bombshell arrived when prosecutor Anne-Christine Maderud broke her silence in the media. The crime with which he is charged could carry a prison sentence of six months to six years.

"Hearing it is just silly. I can understand that sentences are long when there is a lot of money involved but she will have a difficult time trying to prove that we have planned this.

"It was a simple mistake. There just is no evidence.

"This is very difficult for me, for the colleague involved and our families. We just want to get it out of the way.

"But I'm not afraid. I have nothing to hide and I am very comfortable that we will win this," said Nylander.

Jens on Sweden was declared bankrupt in 2005 and Nylander, as CEO of the company, feels that the Customs Service has much to answer for.

"They owed us one million crowns. If we had had that money we would have survived.

"They charged us 10 percent on the import of FM receivers, whereas in reality the figure should have been zero.

"So when we owed them 320,000 kronor after this mistake they just subtracted it from what they already owed us," said Nylander.

The Local has tried to reach Anne-Christine Maderud for a comment.

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