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Top boss gave US job to fugitive brother

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Top boss gave US job to fugitive brother
18:15 CEST+02:00
A Swedish prisoner who has been on the run for ten years was secretly given work in the United States by his own sister, the Harvard-educated CEO of a Swedish multinational.

Erik Arosenius, 38, disappeared from Mariefred Jail in 1995, where he was serving a six year sentence for the attempted murder of his wife. He had been out on weekend leave, and never returned to the jail. He has since then been among Sweden's most wanted fugitives.

On Monday, Swedish company Åkerströms, which makes wireless technology products for heavy industry, received a tip-off from employees that the man they knew as their technical consultant in Florida, Eric Rose, was in fact the escaped convict.

He was also the adopted brother of Marianne Arosenius, 44, CEO of the company's Åkerströms Trux subsidiary. She had hired her brother without telling colleagues.

Arosenius was unmasked after he was pictured in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet last month, identified as one of Sweden's most wanted criminals. Members of Åkerströms' staff visiting the company's US subsidiary recognized him from the photo. They immediately alerted company chairman Rune Brandinger.

"I called Marianne Arosenius back from holiday. She confirmed that she had hired her brother as a subcontractor in the States without telling anyone else," Brandinger told The Local.

"When we got confirmation from Marianne, we dismissed her right away and informed the Swedish police," he added.

Marianne Arosenius told newspaper Falu-Kuriren:

"I think everyone deserves a second chance. But I deeply regret that I didn't check that the crime was past the statute of limitations when he got the job."

Now, her desire to help her brother has left Arosenius's glittering career in tatters. Having studied at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology and gained an MBA from Harvard Business School, Arosenius enjoyed rapid promotion through the top ranks of Swiss-Swedish engineering company ABB. She later became CEO of IT company Softronics, before joining Åkerströms.

Erik Arosenius was born in the United States, and had been adopted by the family as a baby. He retained US citizenship.

Brandinger told The Local on Friday of his shock at finding out what Marianne Arosenius had done.

"We had no reason to suspect her judgment. It's very hard to understand how this could happen."

Arosenius was also a director of technology company Hexagon, a position she resigned on Friday.

"Under the circumstances, I do not wish to be a burden to Hexagon. I have therefore chosen to vacate my place on Hexagon's board," she said in a statement.

Police are now trying to track down Erik Arosenius:

"We have contacted the FBI and reminded them that an international warrant is out for his arrest. He must be returned here as a matter of urgency. He has a further four years left to serve," said Thord Modin at the Swedish National Criminal Investigation Department to news agency TT.

Modin added that he assumed that there would be a full investigation into Marianne Arosenius's actions.

"A prosecutor is to be brought in. It remains to be seen what crimes she could be charged with, but aiding an escape or protecting a fugitive are the most obvious," he said.

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