Porn king reports police over crime gang sting
David Landes · 7 May 2009, 15:00
Published: 07 May 2009 15:00 GMT+02:00
- Porn scandal shakes Swedish airport agency (06 May 09)
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- Swedish national library in child porn scandal (21 Jan 09)
Back in 1997, Milton, who has earned billions as head of the Private Media Group adult entertainment empire, was visited at his office by three men from the Brödraskapet motorcycle gang.
The three men warned Milton of an existing threat against him and his family.
The gang members then told Milton they could take care of the threat if Milton agreed to pay them 400,000 kronor ($50,000).
The first 100,000 kronor was to be handed over at a McDonald’s restaurant the following day.
“Milton viewed the situation as extremely frightening and the threat as real and imminent,” according to the complaint filed with Sweden’s Ombudsman of Justice (JO).
What Milton didn’t know at the time was that the blackmail attempt had been conceived by an undercover police informant named Max Åstrom.
Åstrom had once worked as a doorman at one of Milton’s clubs and had helped initiate contact between the porn baron and members of the Bröderskapet gang.
The revelations only came to Milton’s attention upon his reading of a 2007 book entitled Svensk Maffia (‘Swedish Maffia’) which contained details of the incident provided to the authors through interviews with Åström.
“Berth Milton was scared for his life and called his attorney. He advised him to go to the police, which he did. But thanks to Max, the police already knew [about it] and the plans for setting the trap were in full swing. But the police didn’t tell that to Berth Milton, instead telling Milton to go along with the blackmail and that everything would probably be fine,” reads an excerpt from the book.
Officers were present for the handoff of the first 100,000 kronor and were able to arrest the three gang members. They were later charged with attempted blackmail, with one of the men eventually receiving a 10 month prison sentence.
But the incident had “long lasting consequences” for Milton and his family, according to the complaint.
The brush with the Bröderskapet gang resulted in the persistent threat of reprisals and caused Milton to retain a live-in bodyguard to protect him, his girlfriend, and young daughter.
Milton’s family also decided to not visit Sweden until 2001, except for when Milton was called to testify and for the birth of his younger daughter.
“In sum, the matter has left deep scars on his family’s life,” reads the complaint.
Milton argues that the police failed in their duty to protect him and his family by choosing not to intervene earlier to prevent the crime from taking place.
“If police were informed at an early stage about the planned blackmail of Milton, that means that he and his family were exposed to threats of violence and an imminent risk of being subjected to serious violence without the police making an attempt to stop the planned blackmail from happening,” reads the complaint.
This lack of action, according to Milton, amounts to a failure by the Swedish police to live up to their obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights which states that public authorities to a positive duty to prevent foreseeable loss of life.
Particularly troubling for Milton is the possibility that the crime carried out against him was conceived of, and initiated by, Åström, who was on the police payroll as an informant at the time.
“Against this background, it’s an important matter of principal that JO review the police’s duty to intervene to prevent a crime and protect individual citizens in connection with undercover informant operations,” according to the complaint.
Milton goes on to argue that the issues at stake are so “essential” to the rule of law, that the ombudsman should waive its standard practice of only looking into matters less than two years old.