Engineer charged in Saab blackmail case

Formal charges were filed on Monday against a 48-year-old engineer who has been held since July on suspicions of industrial espionage against Saab Microwave Systems in Gothenburg.

Other charges filed by prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand include unauthorized possession of classified information, blackmail, and attempted blackmail.

“We view this incident very seriously and consider it positive that the case has come to trial so soon,” said Saab Group Senior Vice President of Communications Cecilia Schön Jansson in a statment.

“We have been cooperating closely and actively with the security services and the prosecutor.”

According to the indictment, between December 2007 and July 2008, the engineer tried to convince representatives from Saab to pay him $2.3 million for three separate documents.

He threatened to sell the documents if he didn’t receive the money.

Per the man’s instructions, one third of the money, was placed in a bat which was delivered by a taxi driver on July 10th to a park area in Guldheden in Gothenburg.

The engineer showed up to the drop off point partially disguised and was eventually arrested.

Both Swedish security police (Säpo) and the police’s ‘National Task Force’ (Nationella insatsstyrkan) participated in the operation.

The engineer, who was employed as a consultant to help systematize the company’s documents, doesn’t deny that he wrote the blackmail letter or that he was present to pick up the money.

He contests, however, that he committed no crime, instead claiming that he was the one who was subject to threats and extortion.

According to the engineer, a person with the code name Defence Harry had forced him into the blackmail scheme.

“We have under taken a wide range of measures to investigate whether or not a Defence Harry really exists,” Lindstrand said to the TT news agency.

The suspect’s defence lawyer, Ralph Ekman, is highly critical of the preliminary investigation.

“When they questioned witnesses, they told the witness what the suspicions are. That’s resulted in the witness trying to protect himself,” he told to TT.